A Toast to Diageo for Lifting Aussie Spirits
Some like it neat, others with a twist, and then there’s those loyal to luxe liquors from more than 200 brands made by global beverage alcohol company Diageo – and enjoyed by 1.5 million Australians every year.
Distributing throughout more than 180 countries, Diageo boasts some of the world’s most-recognised and top-shelf tipples including Gordon’s gin, Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky, and the quintessential Australian spirit of Bundaberg Rum.
In Australia, more than 80 per cent of the Diageo brand beverages sold nationwide are made at their iconic Bundaberg Rum Distillery in Queensland and world-class New South Wales facility in Sydney’s west.
“At our Bundaberg distillery, we purchase 15,000 tonnes of molasses each year from local farmers and then return 100 per cent of the dunder left over from our distilling process as farming fertiliser,” said Diageo Managing Director Angus McPherson.
The popular Smirnoff vodkas, premium Gordon’s gins, pioneering UDL brand and ready-to-drink (RTD) range are made domestically using the highest-purity grain neutral spirits – sustainably produced from 100 per cent GMO-free Australian wheat at the Australian family-owned Manildra Group’s world-class distillery in Nowra, New South Wales.
Established in 1864, Smirnoff’s award-winning robust flavours make it the world’s number one vodka, alongside Gordon’s as the highest- selling gin globally, with more than seven million cases in 2021.
Manildra Group’s premium grain neutral spirit is the blank canvas base for Smirnoff’s Red bottled spirit, Smirnoff Red, and Double Black Ice RTDs; Gordon’s bottled spirit, Gordon’s Pink, Gin and Tonic RTDs, and UDL flavours ranging from passionfruit to mojito.
“It’s important for Diageo to partner with a reliable local supplier who is open to feedback and aligned to improving the sensory profile of the grain neutral spirit to meet our highest-quality specifications,” Mr McPherson told The Cultivator.
Amid the challenges of pandemic-era global supply chain disruptions, Mr McPherson said Manildra Group’s business agility to ensure consistency and quality of their grain neural spirits produced at the state-of-the-art distillery, was much-valued by the Diageo team as integral to upholding corporate principles of resilience, innovation, service, and performance.
“Security of supply, and the reliability of inputs, has never been more important and we have always been able to rely on Manildra Group to consistently deliver a high-quality liquid to our site, in full and on time,” said Mr McPherson.
Manildra Group was named the 2022 Spirit of Progress winner among regional and international contributors at Diageo’s Asia Pacific Awards for pioneering grain-to-glass sustainability, championing inclusion and diversity, and promoting discerned drinking.
Working in partnership with suppliers and customers, Diageo’s holistic approach to sustainability encompassed social, environmental, and economic stewardship, said Mr McPherson.
“Our continued long-term success depends on the people and planet around us, and we’re committed to making our supply chain more sustainable, whilst having positive environmental and social impacts,” he said in a nod to Manildra Group’s continuous innovation and investment in their zero-waste process underpinning the world-class Nowra site.
Focusing on positive impacts for the planet, consumers and communities, Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress plan incorporates carbon emissions, water conservation, packaging and waste, inclusion and diversity, and promotion of discerned drinking literacy. Their achievements range from reducing water use by 30 per cent at the Bundaberg distillery in the past five years, to educating more 140,000 Australian teenagers on the dangers of underage drinking and reaching five million Australians with messages about moderation.
Diageo continues to push the boundaries in launching Gordon’s 0.0 per cent – an alcohol-free version of the signature Gordon’s London Dry, with distilled botanicals – and investing a significant majority shareholding in Seedlip as the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand.
For the customers core to Diageo’s business, the beverage portfolio spans a spectrum of tastes and occasions on par with the latest trends of premiumisation, hyper-localised drinking, alcohol-free ‘spirits’ and high-end RTDs.
“Whether it is alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, consumers are prioritising quality over quantity and valuing experiences,” said Mr McPherson.
“Taste and quality should never be compromised and finding new ways to reach markets has motivated us to become more creative and innovative than ever.”
Working with more than 40,000 Australian bars, hotels, restaurants and bottle shops, Diageo is backed by brands at every price point for the strength, speed, and diversity to prosper in an evolving drinks market.
Head of Ethanol Debbie Forster said Manildra Group was honoured to be recognised at the 2022 Diageo Supplier Awards and appreciated their strong, long-term, and trusted relationship.
“We take the greatest pride in crafting to perfection superior grain neutral spirits that meet Diageo’s expectations,” she told The Cultivator, praising the ethanol teams unrelenting commitment daily to provide exceptional service and customer-focused solutions.
“Diageo’s exalted position in the world of spirits is based on iconic products unrivalled in terms of exceptional quality, enticing flavours and outstanding consistency.
“Like Manildra Group, Diageo embraces an entrepreneurial spirit while striving to push their Australian business, brands, and products even further, lifting up their people and nurturing an environmental legacy,” said Ms Forster.