Molson Coors’ new wholesale director Scott Bayliss has challenged wholesalers to respond faster to consumer on-trade trends and explained the impact of recent alcohol regulation, in his first interview since joining the major brewery.  

Bayliss told Retail Express: “Wholesalers need to be much closer to the changing consumer agenda to anticipate these trends – selling a range of products that meet these changing needs.” 

The director said this was necessary “as [store] owners look to diversify where they get their supply from”.

While highlighting continued growth in craft beer and low and non-alcoholic drinks, he claimed that minimum unit pricing (MUP) had damaged beer sales as customers move to categories less affected by the legislation, such as spirits and wines. 

“A good example is the increase in sales of Buckfast Tonic Wine, which has an ABV of almost 15 per cent and more caffeine than a can of Red Bull. Since the introduction of MUP, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the sales of Buckfast in Scotland,” he said.

More than a year after the implementation of the alcohol wholesaler registration scheme, Bayliss said while the scheme had delivered a “clear impact” on illicit stock, the exact results for Molson Coors were “not easily quantifiable”. 

He added that the method for guaranteeing stock was legitimate had made its relationships with retailers and wholesalers more “open and honest”, following the system’s introduction.

However, far from reducing “sin taxes” such as those on tobacco, the Government is rumoured to be planning more. To reduce illicit trade, it is relying on tobacco track and trace legislation that comes into force in May 2019. 

However, Kent Londis retailer Nishi Patel said: “Track and trace won’t tackle the pub and street trade. It will take more enforcement officers with more resources.”

Read similar: Today's Group launches online calculator to help with MUP