Independent liquor retailers dominate whisky sales

July 10, 2019
By Alana House

A new report has revealed a major trend towards independent liquor retailers for online whisky purchases.

“It is a widely held belief that the big supermarket chains are making it impossible for small, independent retailers to compete and win in the Australian liquor industry,” said The Whisky List.

“The buying power of the supermarket chains exceeds that of the independents when looking at the big picture, especially when it comes to beer and wine. However The Whisky List’s Indies vs Chains 2019 Report illustrates the success independent retailers have recently had selling whisky digitally in Australia against supermarket chains.

“Although variances inevitably exist on an individual retailer level, at aggregate levels the results for FY2018/19 show that independent retailers far outperform chains across three key areas: product exclusivity, access to new products and price.”

According to Indies vs Chains, supermarket chains captured 73% of all alcohol sales in FY18/19 in Australia. Despite facing such mighty competition, online independent liquor retailers are expanding dramatically into the Australian liquor industry, with more stores open than ever.

“Their dominance in the whisky niche specifically is arguably due to the points of difference they offer as compared to chains,” added The Whisky List.

“Indies (as an aggregate) stock a more diverse range from both overseas and Australian whisky producers with both exclusivity deals and access to more new releases from the brands, all whilst remaining highly competitive on price.”

Whisky List infographic - independent liquor retailers vs supermarkets

The infographic above details whisky stocked by country of origin, listing the number of Scotch Whisky, Japanese and Australian Whiskies and American Whiskey available, with independents ahead of chains when it comes to range diversity and availability for consumers.

The Whisky List also announced results for the value of tracked sales from its website, with 93% of users purchasing whisky from independents over chains, valued at $846,000.

When surveyed, users of The Whisky List voted 85% in favour of “prefer purchasing from an online independent bottle shop vs supermarket chain”.

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