The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

The Shout NZ Leaders Forum series 2023 – Scott Fairbairn, Thirsty Camel

After a tough few years for New Zealand as a whole, we asked executives in the Kiwi alcoholic beverage industry share their insights and predictions for the year ahead. This series will include several columns in the coming weeks.

Scott Fairbairn – Chief Operating Officer, Thirsty Camel

The 2023 year ahead can only be an opportunity for the wider hospitality and beverage industry, despite the headwinds (let’s not go over these again!). The growing desire for people to connect, spend time with friends and family and enjoy going out and sharing fun will win out with time.

There will be growth in better experiences online for consumers, on-premise experiences, and at-home sophistication of liquor consumption (no longer just cracking a beer or wine) which will help provide growth and interest. The key is long-term premiumisation and continued value growth that benefits everybody.

For the wider industry, supporting the brands that support the trade – those that invest in consumer activity, innovation and long-term consumer engagement – getting them back to your store or bar is vital. These brands drive people in to purchase, they move faster and help drive the profitability of the sector.

The challenges for the broader economy are reflected in the liquor sector as well. Increasing costs (including alcohol excise), labour, freight delays, the impact of crime and the hangover of COVID impact everybody in some form.

Cost of living increases will drive people to look for great value opportunities. This does not mean cheaper prices but a real drive into well-priced premium brands that consumers see as worth paying more for and those brands that offer quality – this is a huge opportunity for the entire sector and communication that the ‘worth’ more than ‘price’ is important.

New products, or indeed those which drive interest and excitement beyond ‘just because it is new’, will continue to benefit consumers, hospitality and retail trade – driving foot traffic, further purchase spend and repeat customers.

From Thirsty Camel we have new brands like Engine Gin, Shanky’s Whip and the continued support across Aperol, Appleton, Campari, Coruba, Fever Tree, Kraken, Wild Turkey and many more to help enliven the industry.

The key to the new year is building into the busy seasons – get the momentum, deliver the very best experience to consumers and continue the positivity for all!

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