BDC launches the Master Distillers’ Collection rum

The Bundaberg Distilling Company (BDC) has released the Master Distillers’ Collection (MDC) Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum. 

This premium rum celebrates the Bundaberg Black legacy, exhibiting the richness, depth and character that are the staples of the Bundaberg Rum Black Barrel range and is set to launch at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival in October.
MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum has spent the last decade ageing in American White Oak and was finished in small, heavy charred barrels. The result is an enticingly sweet rum that has been barrel matured for longer than last year’s MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2004, making it smoother whilst retaining a deep red lustre that is reminiscent of the glow of burning cane fields of yesteryear. 

The result is a premium, full character old aged dark rum featuring notes of deep caramel and sweet raisins, making this a well balanced treat for the palate.
The type of barrel is key to the rate at which a rum matures and the number of different barrels used by the BDC, results in the Master Distillers’ Collective (The Collective) regularly undertaking checks of the ten year old reserves on site to assess which batch is maturing best.
Senior Brand Manager for Bundaberg Rum, Duncan Littler, comments; “The Collective is dedicated to creating premium rums that embrace and celebrate the rich and diverse history of rum. MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 has been barrel matured for longer creating a delectable rum, even smoother than its predecessors in the range.”

Available in 700ml bottles, each MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 (40 per cent ABV) also carries a unique number.


McGuigan scoops 2015 Riverina wine show

The 41st annual Riverina Wine Show results have been announced and as in previous years the entries and winning wines have celebrated the depth of quality and diversity in the Australian wine industry.
The big winner of the night was the 2007 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon (Hunter Valley), which was awarded the ‘Ian Bicego Best Still Wine of Show’ Trophy. 

Chair of Judges Sophie Otton said, “The McGuigan Bin 9000 showed the variety’s slow, controlled development; the kind that tantalises the senses with its lemony fragrance and glimpses of melted butter and toast complexity. This year’s winner absolutely embodied the exhilarating effortlessness and featherweight grace that is Semillon at its best.”
As well as strong entry numbers and some great results in the more traditional classes of Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet, the judges were also “delighted” to see such diversity amongst the ‘Other Red Varieties’ Class, describing it as “a strong class which proved an exciting category, with expressive and skilfully made examples of Durif, Montepulciano, and Petit Verdot all made locally.” 

Commenting on other wine styles to look out for, Otton said, “The ‘2014 Pinot’ Class was an unexpected surprise. On the table, the wines awarded silvers and golds demonstrated a superb graduation, from fruit driven freshness and balance, building to increasing dimensions and layers of flavour, with the top gold showing superb multifaceted complexity. 

Less is more when it comes to Aussie rum

Stuart and Simon Griffith, part of the team behind the creation of the new Substation No. 41 Rum, talk to Food Magazine about rum making, and the challenges of the Australian beverage industry.

Food Magazine (FM): How has the rum changed over recent years?

Simon:  I think the general drinking culture has changed on the whole, not just with rum.  It is very noticeable across the board with all aspects of liquor; beer, wine and spirits that the Australian market is becoming more attracted to the social aspect of drinking and the eventual quality of the drink in their hand.  It is certainly less evident that the consumer is drinking for the affect of the 'grog'.  

Alcohol and the Australian culture go hand in hand.  During Australia's penal era, rum had been used as currency and it has been suggested that the colony's inhabitants drank more alcohol per capita than any other time in human history.
Nowadays Australia's love affair with rum may have changed, but it is still there, it's just different.  As the country has evolved, so has the alcohol consumption and palate of the 'everyday citizen'.  Less is more and quality is everything.

FM: You say that rum is undergoing a “strong renaissance.” Why is it seeing an increase in popularity?

Stuart:  Spirits tend to follow a cycle of popularity and it just so happens that rum is seeing a huge spike in its fortunes that spirits like gin, vodka and whisky have had over the past twenty years or so.  
Rum has often been categorised as a working class drink, which hasn’t been helped with stories of pirates and naval crew downing large amounts for 'Dutch courage' in the face of terrifying situations.  I think the consumer has looked past these old anecdotal stories and made their own choice.  
Rum can work on every level and doesn’t seem to discriminate like maybe other spirits do.  Its versatility is its strength, it doesn’t matter what your gender is or your budget, it appeals to all walks of life for completely different reasons.  And yet, when you strip it all back you find that its unique power is that it makes everyone equal. 

FM: Are Australian drinkers more educated about rum than before?

Stuart:  Yes, they absolutely are.  The liquor market has definitely become a 'buyers market'.  The customer is now in a position where they can ask a question about a product they are buying and not fear a reprisal from the person serving them.  
Also with the advent of the Internet and information at the fingertips, customers more than ever can research before buying.  It’s not uncommon for costumers to visit us at the Substation No. 41 Rum Bar with a list of the rums they may want to try during an evening.  They have information on the rum, pros and cons, a tasting profile, prices etc.  Our job is to help them choose the right rum for them, for the right reasons.  Ten years ago, punters came into the bar with less pre-conceived ideas and were generally happy to get what they were given.

FM: In a market saturated with imports, how can Australian spirits compete?

Stuart:  It's really important to not try and be something your not.  There are so many amazing spirits on the market from a whole heap of international destinations.  So many of these spirits tick all the right boxes and are perfect in so many ways.  The key is to not try and replicate what someone else is doing really well and do your own thing to the best of your ability.  It is the Australian way to barrack for the underdog and give everyone a fair go and so if you apply these fundamental values of Australian culture to making quality spirits then it can be an easy recipe to follow.  Home grown ingredients coupled with this beautiful climate, love, tenderness and hard work and the end product can be a liquor that everyone can be proud of and sold at a reasonable price.


New verification technology to be used for food exports

DataTrace technology is set to be used for Australian export food & wine authentication, Security & Safety.

DataDot Technology Limited (DDT) says it is pursuing opportunities in the growing export food and wine authentication market through its newly established joint venture with Beston Pacific Group. 

DDT and Beston subsidiary company, Grape Ensembles (GE), have jointly established Brandlok Brand Protection Solutions, and over the next nine months Brandlok will develop labels and other devices to authenticate and provide information on wine, dairy, seafood, health food and meat products to be exported to China, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Europe and Middle East. 

DDT has granted an exclusive 5-year licence of its DataTrace authentication technology to Brandlok for incorporation into the labels and devices to prove authenticity for these exported products so that customers can track and trace the ingredients from paddock to plate and verify for themselves that the products are safe to eat.

Bruce Rathie, Chairman of DDT, said that the Brandlok joint venture and its arrangement with the new company BGFC focused on food exports to China and other markets represents a significant opportunity to capitalise on major concerns regarding food security, safety and counterfeiting in these emerging export markets.  

“We have seen a number of food and other product counterfeiting issues especially in places like China.”

“This technology is a mixture of labels, barcodes and apps that can be used on mobile devices allowing them to check the authenticity of what they are buying,” he said.


Pure Blonde gets a carb make over

Pure Blonde, the original low carb beer, has had a makeover, now boasting an even lower carb content.

 Called ‘Pure Blonde Ultra Low Carb’, it’s a lager that contains 80% less carbohydrates than regular beer. 

According to Carlton & United Breweries, with 30% less calories than a regular beer; and 50% less calories than wine (per mL), it is “the perfect tipple for men and women who live a healthy balanced lifestyle.”
The first ultra low carb, lower calorie, and low gluten beer on the market, Pure Blonde Ultra Low Carb Lager contains no artificial additives or preservatives, the brewer said.

Cellar doors hold selling power for wine brands and regions

New research has shown that a visit to a winery's cellar door has a lasting effect on consumer behaviour, influencing their buying habits for months afterwards.

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute tracked behaviour of more than 3,300 visitors to 79 cellar doors across Australia over a six-month period. The results reveal the power of the cellar door in promoting a winery or region's brand.

During the six-month period after a cellar door visit, the buyer group (54% of visitors) bought an average of 9.1 bottles of the winery's wine, and the likelihood of making future purchase is 47% on average.

Most importantly, 16% of cellar door visitors who had never bought the brand before began buying it after a visit – this gain can be directly attributed to the cellar door visit and experience.

Reasons for not buying wine include already having a stock at home (25%), preference for other wine brands or styles (20%), and non-availability of the wines at their usual retail outlet (15%).

After a cellar door visit, most wines are bought from large liquor chain stores (33%), but visitors also revisit cellar doors and buy wine (23%). The cellar door channel (including mail order and wine clubs) made up 31% of wine purchases.

Members of wine clubs buy 2.5 times more wine than non-members – about 15% of visitors to a cellar door were members of its wine club.

By the time six months had passed, 47% of visitors had consumed all the wine they bought at the cellar door. 68% consumed it at home.

A cellar door visit also changes patterns of wine consumption in consumers, encouraging consumption of higher quality and more expensive wines. Consumers were more likely to consume wine from the visited region, and their general consumption rose significantly.

The power of word-of-mouth is also increased by a positive visit to a cellar door. 83% of consumers who visited a cellar door recommended a visit to friends, family or work colleagues within three months of visiting, an average of 3.4 times.

Lead researcher Professor Johan Bruwer from the University of South Australia's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute said that the research shows a cellar door visit has a much wider impact beyond simply counter sales on the day.

“The question is how powerful is the effect of awareness, tasting, and overall experience at a cellar door in influencing future purchase behaviour of that brand. This project provides a measure of that impact across a significant period of time after that visit,” Professor Bruwer says.

“The cellar door does something quite special, it can give the brand a good story if those who visit and taste the wine have had a good, authentic, and memorable experience. People who visit a cellar door also become more educated about the wine region and this increases the consumption of wines of that origin.”


TWE reworks supply chain

TWE has put the Ryecroft winery, T’Gallant and Bailey’s properties up for sale as part of its strategy to focus on fewer brands.

The winemaker is making significant changes to its supply chain network in the USA and Australia and has identified further opportunities to reduce its overhead cost base.

TWE plans to accelerate its focus on the Luxury & Masstige versus Commercial portfolios globally, by making significant changes to its supply chain network and cost base in both the USA and Australia.


The packaging and warehousing of wines previously processed at Karadoc near Mildura Victoria, will now occur at TWE’s state of-the-art Wolf Blass facility in the Barossa, South Australia. The phased closure of packaging and warehouse operations at Karadoc is due to be completed during fiscal 2016.

As a result, the utilisation of the Wolf Blass packaging and warehousing facility will be significantly enhanced.

Furthermore, Commercial wine currently processed at TWE’s Great Western and Wynn’s Coonawarra facilities will be transferred to the Karadoc site, with Karadoc to become exclusively focused on the production of TWE’s Australian Commercial wine portfolio.

At the same time, the processing of Masstige wine at Great Western and Wynns Coonawarra will be transferred to Wolf Blass. This will, in turn, result in increased luxury wine processing and warehousing capacity at these sites.

United States of America

In the USA, TWE will consolidate its production facilities such that TWE’s Asti winery in Sonoma County, California, will become surplus to the company’s production needs.

Asti's wine production will be transferred to other wineries within TWE’s network, with the majority of Commercial and Masstige wine production transferred to Paso Robles and Luxury wine transferred to Beringer. This will increase utilisation at both facilities.

Collectively, these steps will further facilitate TWE’s separate focus on the Luxury & Masstige versus Commercial portfolios in the region.

Finally, packaging lines at TWE’s Napa Bottling Centre (NBC) are being consolidated to further optimise production efficiency.

Expected outcome of supply chain optimisation

These initiatives are expected to be complete by the end of fiscal 2016. The supply chain network optimisation benefits are not immediate, rather they are recognised through Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) at the time wines are sold.

As a result of actions to optimise the Company’s supply chain, TWE expects to recognise a provision in fiscal 2015 for a cash cost of approximately $35 million. The COGS benefits from this initiative will ramp up from fiscal 2016 and reach $50 million per annum by fiscal 2020.

TWE plans to reinvest some of the savings from supply chain optimisation into the company’s Commercial portfolio globally, while at the same time improving TWE’s base business and delivering enhanced returns to shareholders.

Furthermore, the Company does not expect a net incremental increase in capital expenditure to result from these changes.

Overhead reduction program

As reported at the Company’s interim 2015 result announcement on 27 February 2015, TWE remains on track to deliver $35 million in cost savings in fiscal 2015, as part of an overhead reduction program previously announced to the market in May 2014.

Following additional work to ‘right size’ the Company’s cost base, a further $15 million in overhead cost savings has been identified and is expected to be realised in fiscal 2016.

Accordingly, TWE has raised an additional provision of $15 million to support these savings.

Michael Clarke, TWE’s Chief Executive Officer, said “I am very pleased that we, at TWE, are now embedding a cost conscious culture. Not only are the cost reductions funding the 50 percent uplift in consumer marketing in fiscal 2015, the savings are also supporting actions to improve the quality of TWE’s base earnings, while delivering profit growth for shareholders.”

“The changes announced today are significant ones for our business and demonstrate our commitment to delivering on the Company’s strategic roadmap. By continuing to reduce costs, and optimising the scale and efficiency of our supply chain networks in major production areas, TWE is well placed to pursue growth opportunities that exist for our wine brands in key markets around the world.”