Cheers to collaboration

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By Graduate Consultant David Abbott

After spending many years working as a bottle-shop casual while completing my degree, I have sold a significant amount of booze to a variety of punters, with a wide range of tastes.

One thing that became evident during this carefully constructed, multi-faceted, longitudinal research assignment, was a rise in the popularity of Tasmanian produced, premium alcoholic beverages.

This was the case (pun intended) for beer drinkers, spirit sippers and wine quaffers.

Tasmania’s terroir – a fancy wine term that encompasses the environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate, lends itself perfectly to the production of high-quality, sought-after alcoholic beverages.

It is reasonable to assume that this terroir hasn’t changed much over the last 20 years, but the industry has gone from strength to strength.

So, what has changed?

Yes, the alcohol industry has managed to capitalise on the brand positioning Tasmania has worked hard to establish. Tasmanian producers may not be able to match the volumes of production and resulting economies of scale our mainland counterparts enjoy, but they have reaped the benefits of aligning their brands with the ideals of purity and quality.

In fact, Tasmania is the only state in Australia that can convert and sell all of the grapes grown for wine. The other regions are left with a surplus that often goes to waste.

Obviously, this is no ground-breaking discovery, however alongside the premiumisation of the Tasmanian brand, also exists a strong parochialism which has served the alcoholic beverage industry well.

Not only are Tasmanian consumers actively seeking local products, but Tasmanian producers are working together to grow the brand of the entire industry.

Not that long ago, I was involved in a wine show that saw winemakers from around the country showing off their wares to a mixture of trade representatives and the general public.

Observing this event, I was struck by the comradery and support between the Tasmanian cohort of producers, even though they were effectively in direct competition with each other. There were stories of resource sharing and genuine delight in the success of others.

The Tasmanian wine industry has realised the benefits of working in collaboration which often outweigh the efforts of fighting against each other. Recognising that the best growth opportunities lie outside the confines of Tasmania has allowed the industry to flourish, both locally and abroad.

This effective collaboration is only made possible by the establishment of strong communication channels between businesses.

In your future decisions, I would encourage you to consider the ways in which you can work with other businesses that you might see as competitors. Open a dialogue in order to form as many positive relationships as possible.

In this instance, working together has allowed the wine industry to raise the profile and reputation of its products so all benefit.

Treading on each other’s toes is the best way to ensure you all limp to the finish line.

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