At the CEO Leaders’ Panel Breakfast on 19 May, part of the AUSPACK Leaders’ Forum, Brown Family Wine Group CEO Dean Carroll will share his experience of running one of Australia’s oldest winery businesses through the unexpected and uncharted pandemic years.
Carroll leads the team behind a family of brands that began with an 1889 vintage in Milawa, Victoria. Today, the Brown Family Wine Group includes wine labels Brown Brothers, Devil's Corner, Tamar Ridge, Pirie, and Innocent Bystander, from the viticultural regions in Tasmania, the Yarra Valley, Heathcote, and the King Valley.
Across the business, Carroll said Covid is still having an effect.
“We hoped the year would return to normal and while some aspects have, others are yet to. Covid absenteeism is significant and continues to create challenges in our business across many areas.
“Hospitality has been impacted as we remain open on restricted hours due to staff shortages and flow-on impacts to increased cost and delays in logistics are evident,” he said.
The flow-on effect has been a slower than expected – and preferred – return to the office.
“While we created a flexible work environment, there are intrinsic benefits to being onsite, so some of those benefits have been somewhat delayed,” Carroll adds.
One area that has been a major positive for the business is the growth of the low/no alcohol market, with Carroll saying it is an exciting area for the business looking to the future.
He sees three area of opportunity for the company, with export and packaging joining low/no alcohol as areas of development.
“We export a relatively small component of our wine, and we see tremendous opportunity overseas, particularly across Asia and USA. We are opening up markets and partnerships in those places as we speak which is exciting for our company and its future.
“We also see tremendous opportunities for innovation in wine packaging, which is relatively generic at this point. Packaging innovation is something I’m looking forward to hearing and learning about at AUSPACK, to see what might stimulate evolution and cut through in our category,” Carroll said.
For Carroll, disruption and unexpected challenges mustn’t cloud the focus of the business.
“There is no doubt there are many disruptions to our core business in the current environment and we see that continuing and almost being part of the new way of working.
“The key for our business is to not lose sight of what we are trying to achieve and remain focused on our core strategic priorities.
“Agility becomes critical and generally that involves removing obstacles and inefficiency from within our business to enable freedom to innovate and make quick and informed business decisions,” he said.
Join Dean Carroll and other CEO panellists on 19 May at the CEO Leaders Panel Breakfast. Carroll will be joined by Alan Oppenheim, CEO of Ego Pharmaceuticals, and Diem Fuggersberger, founder and CEO of Berger Ingredients. The panel will be chaired by Kate Whitehead of Avant Group.
You can book to attend this session here.