Woolworths introduced petrol discounts; Coles followed. In November, Woolworths launched Sail and Anchor beer; in January, Coles followed with Steamrail Brewing Co.
The shift from exclusive beer brands (brands they control in Australia, but don’t own) to brands they actually own shows just how important the premium beer market is to Australia’s biggest liquor retailers.
It’s important, too, to Australia’s brewers. They must look on with some concern as their biggest off-licence customers increasingly become their competitors.
Woolworths in particular would be of concern as its stake in Gage Road Brewing, where they brew Sail and Anchor beer, makes it a producer as well as marketer.
While consolidation of retailing seems at times a bad thing, it can also be seen as a necessary evil to offset the power of the two dominant, internationally owned brewers.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 13 February 2013 in The Canberra Times