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Swift + Moore’s Cameron Crowley assesses on-premise trends as Australian Cocktail Month begins

After more than 20 years in the alcohol industry, Cameron Crowley has seen trends come and go, and has a keen eye for which are fads, and which represent long-term shifts in behaviour.

Like many in the drinks business, Cameron has identified the development of high quality and premium spirits as a key trend in the Australia on-premise, both in the immediate future and the long-term.

“The development and appreciation of ultra-premium and craft spirits in Australia, which had been a slow burn in the Australian drinks space, has seen a significant advancement in recent years,” Cameron says.

Cameron also suggests the success and strength of this trend is as much down to venues as it is to producers.

“More flexibility in liquor licensing, coupled with international product innovation and domestically a stronger economic case for local distilling has been met by the willing embrace of great venues looking to create distinctive experiences and to showcase their own craft.”

For Cameron, this premiumisation trend began with brown spirits, but has now expanded across all spirit categories, with the benefits going beyond just upgraded packaging or pricey marketing campaigns. Authenticity is a key driver of these premium expressions, and this is an area where Cameron believes Australian products can excel.

“One example which comes to mind is Regal Rogue Vermouths, Australian made using wines their organic wine sourced from a single vineyard in cool climate Orange, blended with all native botanicals, all sourced from indigenous communities,” Cameron says.

Vermouth is of course an integral part of so many cocktails, and its so no surprise that Cameron highlights the offering of Regal Rogue, with Swift + Moore securing distribution rights in late 2021.

“The team at Regal Rogue have done more than anyone to reignite vermouth, making it an exciting, relevant, and most critically, a delicious foundation for some of our favourite cocktails,” Cameron explains.

And with Regal Rogue, Cameron sees the impact of another trend sweeping through the drinks trade: sustainability.

“In addition to an incredibly thoughtful approach to the liquid, Regal Rogue have also innovated with their packaging, introducing a fully-recyclable five-litre cask for venues who are looking to minimise waste, reduce their carbon footprint through reduced transport costs, as well as saving space in-venue and reducing their nip price.

“It’s a great example of product innovation unlocking multiple benefits in sustainability and efficiency.”

The brand’s hard work paid off when its Lively White expression was named ‘Champion Vermouth’ at the 2021 Australia Distilled Spirits Awards.

Lively White Negroni

Ingredients:


  • 30ml Regal Rogue Lively White vermouth
  • 30ml Suze liqueur
  • 30ml gin
  • A twist of pink grapefruit zest (to garnish)

Directions:


  1. Add ingredients to a chilled mixing glass
  2. Add plentiful ice and stir until ice cold and dilute
  3. Strain into a tumbler over a single large block of ice
  4. Garnish with pink grapefruit zest

As the spirits sector at large has moved towards high quality (and higher prices), Cameron identified one category that has transformed more than any other.

“The gin category, more than any spirit in recent times, has been explored, adjusted, flavoured and reimagined and it’s really exciting to see how this has come to life,” Cameron says.

Again, Cameron draws attention to one of the more innovative products in the Swift + Moore stable, G’Vine Gin.

Produced in France’s famous distilling region of Cognac, G’Vine is made with a base of French grapes and uses grape vine blossom as one of the crucial botanicals.

“G’Vine is the original ultra-premium French gin,” Cameron says.

As Cameron explains, the spirit “is produced in small batches, with no less than nine individual distillations.”

For wine-loving Australians, Cameron sees G’Vine as filling a gap in the market, bringing together both worlds in a gin that is “unique in its simplicity.”

Finally, Cameron was keen to showcase the Cocktail Porter range of bottled cocktails, which responds to the accelerating trend for pre-batching drinks in busy venues.

Cameron believes Cocktail Porter can have a role to play in both the on- and off-premise as Australian Cocktail Month gets under way, and with World Cocktail Day on Friday May 13.

“Making perfect cocktails more easily available is the mission of our friends at Cocktail Porter and here is my best thought for owner-operators as we approach World Cocktail Day.”

“Many cocktails are difficult, and pressures on staff and their time are really in the highlight,” Cameron says.

“While many have transitioned to a broad cocktail offer there are likewise many venues who have for these reasons not been able to make a start.”

“Cocktail Porter’s range of professionally made cocktails created with Australian leading spirits may well be the easy solution,” he adds.

Cocktail Porter combines some of Australia’s most famous spirit brands (Archie Rose, Mr. Black and Poor Toms) in professionally made, pre-batched bottled cocktails.

“These are not the ready-made cocktails of the past that disappointed – Cocktail Porter allow the novice at home (or the manically understaffed in a regular local bar) to deliver five star quality cocktails in no time at all.”

“It’s literally one step to deliver a delicious cocktail,” Cameron concludes.

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