Hannah Sparks, Associate Editor of drinks trade magazine, reports from the NILWA annual sales conference.
It was the first on-premise focused group of independent liquor wholesalers with national representation and trading terms.
Twenty years ago in Sydney, seven liquor wholesalers joined forces and became the National Independent Liquor Wholesalers Association.
All of them family-owned and operated businesses, by combining their skills and knowledge, they could use the power of the group to strengthen their supplier relationships and secure national deals that would deliver value to both members and customers.
They would also be able to evaluate and analyse members’ sales, distribution and performance data to provide customers with useful insights and marketing promotions.
NILWA celebrated its 20th anniversary this week as part of its annual sales conference, back in the city where it all began.
In raising a toast with members and suppliers, National Group Executive Jenny Hughes described the event as a significant milestone.
“In 1997, NILWA’s positioning statement was: ‘in the supply of liquor products to on-premise venues, NILWA wholesalers aim to offer a high-quality service of wide product choice and a value based business relationship.’ Twenty years on, and this statement is still relevant today.”
Current NILWA members include D’Aquino Liquor Merchants, Novocastrian Wholesale Liquor, Gateway Liquor Wholesale, G H Cole & Son, Rivercity Wholesale Liquor, Monacellars Wine & Spirits and Festival City, which collectively service over 4000 city and regional customers.
Despite changes in membership and the industry over the years, NILWA’s passion to deliver on its original promise has never wavered.
NILWA founding member, Rex D’Aquino from D’Aquino Liquor Merchants, reflected: “20 years later and we’re still here. We’ve had many members grow, evolve, move, buy in, sell out, but we’re stronger than ever, and the passion and talent we have is still the same.”
Pictured main: NILWA members. Collage (clockwise from top left): Jenny Hughes (NILWA National Group Executive), Sam Thompson and Ryan Green (Pernod Ricard Australia); Martin O'Mara (NILWA Chair) and Gavin Loveday (Associate Director of Sales, Accor Hotels); NILWA head office staff Simone Wright (National Services Officer), Emma Rabbett (National Services Officer), Steel Stone (National Brand Designer), Jenny Hughes (National Group Executive) and Kylie McVey (National Operations Officer); Rex D'Aquino (D'Aquino Group) and Gareth Parker (Coca-Cola Amatil).