Brewers’ data ammunition for the IBA

Brewers must share their data with the IBA so it can lobby on their behalf, attendees were told at BrewCon last week.

Amber River Group Managing Director Marcella Merck said it was imperative for breweries to actively compile their data.

“The surveys that come out by the IBA, you need to complete them, you need to be able to provide that information,” she said.

“It gives the IBA more ammunition to work on your behalf.”

Merck began by outlining the two tenets that former Executive Officer Chris McNamara wanted to segment in the report.

“One was to measure the size of the market, because it’s important to understand where you sit in context as an industry, and not just in beer but as individuals in the wider segment.”

“He also wanted to nail at some point that you guys learn how to benchmark yourselves, against not just your peers, but against what other breweries look like at different category levels.”

She explained that the data the IBA is trying to present to the industry now, is really an important starting point.

“Chris and I sat down for a couple of sessions of beer and talked over how we thought we could make this work, we also got Ben Kooyman involved.”

“It’s not perfect, but you can’t measure your progress without a starting point, and this report represents that starting point.”

She admitted that there are gaps in the information they were able to compile, but reiterated how important it is for member and non-member breweries to collect their data and feed it back to the IBA.

“We’ve had to draw some lines in order to make some determinations of the volume of output by the overall beer market and independence within that, and within each segment within that as well.”

Merck said the same goes for retail outlets.

The content of the report includes beer sales in Australia by volume and revenue, trends within independent brewers, operational figures, and some consumer insights as well.

Some of the report’s key findings were:

  • That independent brewers make up 97 per cent of the number of brewers in the country
  • That independent brewers are only producing by volume 2 per cent
  • Craft beer as a segment by retail output makes up 9 per cent of retail dollars

“What it doesn’t show you though, is that you are driving 27 per cent of growth within the craft segment itself.”

“Independent brewers specifically are the ones driving the growth in the craft segment.”

“It’s not just the big brands,” Merck assured. “The big brands aren’t able to grow at the same level as you guys.”

“So they can buy up all the big name labels that they like but when it comes to the independents… you have an advantage just being who you are.”

“The big guys will never be able to compete and the growth numbers are showing that as well.”

Merck seized on the importance of this data.

“You need to put yourselves in context.”

“It’s what everybody else is looking at – investors, financiers, and the government as well.”

Merck reiterated that this data has to improve, it has to keep getting better each time.

“There’s no silver bullet,” she said.

Instead, reports like this one must become tools for businesses to assess where they are now and where they are heading.

“Once you understand where you’re at, we can start comparing ourselves to other more mature markets.”

The Independent Brewers Industry Report was compiled by the Amber River Group, an independent body that consults for the independent brewing sector on all things fiscal.The state of the industry report will be released in August this year.

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