CGA by NIQ webinar analyses trade/supplier relationships and emerging on-premise trends

February 22, 2024
By Cody Profaca

In this morning’s free CGA by NIQ webinar, host James Phillips, Client Solutions Director – ANZ, guided a panel discussion that provided an outlook into the current strengths and weaknesses of Australia’s on-premise trade, along with where it might be headed towards next.

One key topic of discussion was about the relationship between trade and supplier, with the panel–a mix between the two–contributing a variety of different ideas.

Ashley Nash, Venue Manager at Osbourne Hotel, outlined the need for mutual benefit in trade supplier relationships. 

“I suppose the challenges we face is when anything that brought is forward is almost sort of forceful thing that you have to do – whether that’s a contractual agreement or not – it’s very difficult to get the staff behind that, especially if the relationship isn’t there with that supplier,” he said.

“That’s the biggest challenge: when it’s very forceful but the relationship isn’t there yet.”

The dialogue was continued by Trish Brew, Brand Ambassador at Fever-Tree. 

“I love that Ash spoke about this because it’s definitely something that I felt in my time as a bar manager also,” she said. 

“But a little perspective from this side was that sometimes there will be brand campaigns that we as a company might deem to be really just a good way to get you a good deal on something that might be trending right now with our insides and Ash is completely correct: it may not work for your venue specifically but it does come from somewhere that is is well thought out and maybe even argued about to great length internally. 

“So we are coming from a place of trying to give you good value in something we feel with our background knowledge is going to help.”

Alex Zanarini, National Brand Ambassador at Moet Hennessy, believes effective communication to be the crucial link between supplier and venue. 

“As my first mentor put it, people go out and spend their money and our job is to make that as easy as possible… We all want success for our brands, we all want success for our venue so it’s often just a little bit of a communication breakdown. 

“One thing which I believe is super important is not making a square peg fit into a round hole: that is what does your venue do really well and what can we offer to elevate and accentuate that.”

Zanarini considers his role of brand ambassador as being a point of communication between supplier and venue. 

“I think that our main role as brand ambassadors is sort of to act like a translator between suppliers and venues. So really find out what the wants and needs of each are and broker a deal that is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Nick Tesar, Creative Director of Drinks at Four Pillars, also provided valuable insight into the importance of understanding venue identity during drinks and menu creation.

“The most important thing for me is understanding the venue identity: not one size fits all but every different space needs different styles of drinks because of the consumer demands and because of the way the space works.

“I was a Bar Liberty for six years and we didn’t have an ice bar so there was no mixing of drinks. Everything had to be pre-batched and stable. 

“At the Four Pillars lab here in Sydney we hold a creative session every quarter where we essentially identify what spots on the list are available and all of the team present different ideas and we workshop through those ideas to create the new venues and that’s a very creative base whereas working with you know restaurants.”

Nash, when asked, said he would never stock pre-batched drinks at the Osbourne Hotel, citing the importance of bartending theatrics. 

“The answer is no… and it’s not that we’re dead against it, i just feel that it takes that theatre away and it takes the creativity away from the staff.

“They’ve gone from providing that amazing guest experience, that theatre, putting their knowledge into making that amazing drink from pulling a tap that’s been pre-created outside of the venue.

One of the categories that all four panellists agreed upon was the importance of education, including the role of brands and suppliers in providing it in venues. The conversation finished with each predicting what they thought would be the biggest on-premise trend for 2024. 

“Tequila is huge right now, and it’s getting bigger and bigger,” said Nash. 

“I think across the board whatever your spirit of choice is, just perfectly made elevated spirit mixes with locally sourced garnish. So whether that’s a beautiful gin and Fever-Tree tonic or Cognac ginger ale with lime and mint: just simple elevated mixes,” said Zanarini.

“yeah I think everyone’s been right so far. Simple serves done really well, back to basics and nostalgia will do really really well,” said Tesar.

“I agree: simplicity, going back to basics,” said Brew.

The Last Call webinar was run by CGA by NIQ, a leading international data and insight consultancy agency. CGA, a research group that has been in operation since the early 1990’s, was acquired by Nielsen IQ in June 2022.

“The acquisition came at a point in time when Nielsen IQ is really looking to expand its coverage across different markets, channels [and] categories,” said James Phillips, host of the webinar.

“What it has allowed Nielsen to do is really create more coverage from a liquor perspective and provide what we call the ‘full view’ of the consumer.”

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