By Andy Young, TheShout
In June last year Lion launched its Malt Shovel business, with the aim of taking Lion into new venues, expanding the knowledge and understanding of its craft beer brands and also to make the process of doing business easier all round.
Now, as the business looks to build on its early momentum, Beer & Brewer spoke to the general manager of Malt Shovel, Gordon Treanor, about what Malt Shovel is all about, how it’s working and the plans for the future.
In summarising Malt Shovel, Treanor told Beer & Brewer: “Malt Shovel is a dedicated team of people looking to do two things; one is to nurture a collection of new brands and breweries and secondly is to make business easy for the licensed trade in Australia.
“There are over 55,000 licensed venues, on- and off-premise around Australia and Malt Shovel’s goal is to make doing business easy for those customers, and to build and grow a collection of new brands.”
As well as having access to the entire Lion portfolio, Malt Shovel is looking to nurture an additional craft range of beers which includes Panhead, Byron Bay, Eumundi and a new addition is the Bevy Brewing Co in Western Australia.
Treanor added: “Malt Shovel is working across the on- and off-premise and we are looking to build partnerships with all those licensed on- and off-premise customers that Lion doesn’t currently service.
“We have a dedicated team out on the road, who are all about building knowledge and passion for beer. They are all Cicerone trained or taking the exams, so they know a huge amount about beer and they are focusing on the customers’ needs first – what can we do to find flexible and fast ways of doing business and help customers to grow?”
“We can help in terms of that knowledge and passion, in terms of advising on the beer styles, the up and coming new releases, whether that’s Little Creatures Extra Pale Ale, or the White Rabbit Chocolate Stout. Or we can help with finding solutions for tap dispense systems in smaller venues and other ways to help customer to grow their business.”
In speaking to Treanor the emphasis on Malt Shovel is very much geared towards flexibility, beer education and making business easier.
He told Beer & Brewer: “The licensed trade is changing pretty fast, there are new small bars, restaurants and cafés opening all the time and in the past lots of liquor suppliers have not been able to deliver in that area and that’s really what Malt Shovel is trying to do.
“We’re taking a very flexible approach to what customers are looking for, whether it’s on tap or simply having a range in the fridge, and we’re simply trying to make business easy for those customers. The way we deal with them is basically finding out what their needs are, what they are looking for, whether it’s the Malt Shovel brands or if they want to have a broader selection from our portfolio. It’s up to them and we try to find a way of working with them.
“We cut out the paperwork with quick online signup on our Ordermentum platform, you can click to cart and we’ll deliver the next day. All people need to do is jump on the Malt Shovel website and we’ll send an ambassador out to meet them.”
In terms of looking forward, he added: “The vision ultimately is to grow our customer numbers and to incubate and grow some amazing new beers that can be enjoyed across Australia. But we’ll be patient and focus on nurturing brands Eumundi and give them time. We’ve got a good track record of being patient, James Squire is 20 years old, Kosciuszko is going great and that’s nine years old and Furphy is just over three years old and you can see what a runaway success that is in Victoria and it just now going national.
“With Malt Shovel it’s about patience, brewing great beers and building a strong brands.”
As well as the emerging craft brands the Malt Shovel team has access to Lion’s established craft beers including James Squire, Little Creatures and White Rabbit as well as the classic beers of Tooheys and XXXX and the international portfolio including Kirin and Heineken.