25 January, 2020

Casella & Asahi win Supplier of the Year at 2017 AdAs

Casella & Asahi win Supplier of the Year at 2017 AdAs

Congratulations to Casella Family Brands and Asahi Premium Beverages on being the joint winners of Supplier of the Year at the 2017 Australian drinks Awards.

It’s the first time in the history of the AdAs that two companies have tied for the major award.

Each year, Advantage Australia supplies data to the drinks association for the Supplier of the Year Award. Advantage conducts a benchmark study measuring how favourably a supplier is regarded by retailers in both the on and  off-premise.

Respondents complete an online survey where they rate the company on 35 factors including support, marketing, supply chain and business relationships. Selected personnel are then interviewed to gain specific feedback about suppliers’ overall performance and organisational capabilities. Executive level interviews are also conducted to provide an indepth insight.

This score is a roll-up at a Total level of performance, calculated independently from each capability measure, and is the used to determine the overall result. This highlights outstanding overall performance as rated and scored by all Trade participants in the Advantage Program and allows a total industry perspective to ascertain best in class performance delivery.

Thank you to Advantage Australia for sponsoring such an important award for our industry.

Exciting time for Casella

In addition to scooping Supplier of the Year, Casella also won a Best in Class award for Best Ad Campaign – Red Wine for Yellow Tail Shiraz and Best Ad Campaign – White Wine for Yellow Tail Chardonnay.

The awards come after a period of rapid expansion and change for Casella.

While the company is most famous globally for Yellow Tail, which sells more than 12.5million cases a year, it has been turning its focus to premiumisation, buying brands such as Peter Lehmann, Brands Laira and Morris.

But it hasn’t lost focus on its core values along the way.

Wine industry analyst David Errington from Merrill Lynch says the advantage Casella Family Brands has over its competitors is that it’s a family business.

“If a family-owned business makes $1 million they think they have won TattsLotto,” he notes. “They don’t think about return on assets. A listed company that made one million would be expected to generate a return on capital of $100 million.

“Family-owned companies don’t think about return on capital. They think about having enough cash to pay the school fees, the golf club, and having a great lifestyle. So they don’t think about returns and they are focused on long-term decisions.”

Managing director John Casella agrees. He says the key to the success of his business is the experience of coming from a family of Sicilian migrants.

“There’s a lot that’s inherent here,’’ he says. “It’s about a mindset of keeping the business strong, serving the community, and family. A lot of that came out of us being immigrants.

“For us it wasn’t about making money. Money is good when you don’t have it, but when you have it, you look to other things.

“It’s about having a positive impact on the community, on employees, the family, and the wine industry.”

Accepting the award, Mark Churi (pictured above), National Sales Manager at Casella Family Brands, said: "I feel extremely humbled to accept this award. Humility is a very big platform at Casella. John Casella has made some incredible achievements globally. He's passionate about Australian wine without putting his chin forward. I can't tell you how I feel because words are avoiding me at the moment. But I do want to say that while we achieve many things, we never achieve them alone, so thank you to the whole team at Casella."

Big year for Asahi Premium Beverages

Like Casella, it’s been an exciting time for Asahi as it grows and innovates.

The company has been traditionally known for its beer and cider brands, a position consolidated by its acquisition of most of the European assets of SABMiller following the merger with AB InBev. The deal, which included Czech market leader Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, Poland’s Tyskie and Lecher and Hungary’s Dreier, immediately making it a major power in Europe’s competitive brewing market.

However, in August Asahi acquired four spirits brands from ASM Liquor, including Vodka O, Tequila Blu, Canadian whisky Spicebox and VDKA 6100.

“These brands will give APB an important position within the full strength spirits category,” said Scott Hadley, APB’s chief commercial officer. “This will mean we can offer our customers an even broader range of alcohol beverages.”

Prior to the ASM acquisition, APB's spirits portfolio comprised Vodka Cruiser and Wild Moose RTDs, Woodstock Bourbon and Highland Scotch whisky.

Woodstock Bourbon also took out an award at the 2017 Australian drinks Awards, as overall category winner for RTD in the Best Presence in Social Media section.

Michael Ritoli, GM Sales at Asahi Premium Beverages (pictured above accepting the award), said he was looking forward to sharing a beer with fellow Best Supplier Mark Churi after the Awards ceremony. 

Click here to view the full winners' list.