Friday, December 23, 2011

The Geisha or the Springbok?

The Australian beer industry has two main breweries:
One is Japanese, the other
South African.

The Japanese brew Queensland's most popular beer.

This brings new & interesting considerations into their marketing strategies. Eg, the exchange rate of the Japanese Yen to the Australian Dollar, the prevailing financial climate of Japan (tsunami, earthquake, etc), are perhaps more important than the ambient financial climate or market share in Australia.

When the brewery was New Zealand owned, the aforementioned were not considerations.

The shenanigans & quirks of beer buying are complex. Not everybody has the intellectual horsepower to cope with dealing for beer. It takes quite some years to learn & develop the skills. The breweries are experts, & greenhorn publicans, who have made a direct entry to the trade, are lambs to their slaughter. (As opposed to those publicans who have worked in the pub trade, been taught by skilled mentors, & know the ropes).

Any fool can fill in a brewery order form each week for the beer they want. Do this & you'll be uncompetitive, and if you're not already a small timer, you soon will be.

Filling in an order form each week is something you might get away with if your pub is bar trade only. Due to the comparitively low volume & high margin of bar sales, mistakes aren't as critical, nor are there the traps for new players.

In the modern era, breweries are notable for two things:
1/. Using unconscionable blackmail to pressure pubs to sell for low margins, and
2/. Not understanding the logistics & costs of long distance freight. (They think all pubs are located beside the brewery & make only a token - if any - allowance for freight costs or time delays)

This second point reached its nadir in the state of Victoria few years ago when (what is now the South Africans) ran a "brewery fresh" campaign, forcing pubs to hang a sign out the front informing how many days old the tapped kegs were. The South Africans are the only brewery in Victoria. Thus they felt empowered to pull a monopoly stunt like that. They'd never be game to try it in any other state. They'd be handing their market share to the Japanese on a plate.

How many days ago the keg was brewed? Who are they kidding? There is no sane reason for this, they are working purely on the street punters being ignorant of brewing. This must have got some of their bigger customers offside. It would have been nearly the ruination of some of their smaller clients.

I shudder to think how this would have worked in parts of the country where beer is delivered to pubs only eleven times per year!


RebeccaH said...

I thought that beer needed time to age a little bit anyway (not years, like for hard liquor, but you know what I mean).

Merry Christmas, Mine Host, to you, your staff, and all your customers.

Anonymous said...

Merry Merry and Happy Happy from us in NEFlorida, too.

Drank up my quota of beer YEARS ago, but I sure love reading about this, thank you!