450 beers: First peek at new-look Dan’s
Dan Murphy's managing director Alex Freudmann is unleashing a new wave of innovation at his stores as the liquor giant prepares to demerge from Woolworths with the rest of the Endeavour Group, and has unveiled a new in-store concept that combines tech, sustainability and education.
And with overseas borders mostly shut, suspending Australians' love of travelling for some time, shoppers are turning to quaffing international wines such as French burgundy or Italian fiano.
On Friday, Dan Murphy's unveiled the new look of its future stores, which incorporates a heavy focus on in-store education, fresh beer delivered weekly straight from the brewer and served from growlers, more craft beer and digital shelf technology that sends beverage information to shoppers' phones.
It is shopping positioned around discovery and new experiences, or what Mr Freudmann has termed a "shrine to discovery".
The newly fitted out Dan Murphy's store in South Melbourne has undergone a renewal to be the first store in the country with the mix of education and technology.
"This is exciting for us because this is definitely the future of Dan Murphy's, this is the way Dan's is going to look around the country in both new stores and existing stores that we refurbish," Mr Freudmann said.
"Why now? Because customers tell us they expect so much more and they are really looking for discovery, for education. And we know for example from ABS data that people are drinking less but we also know from our own data people are drinking better and are looking for that discovery experience.
Mr Freudmann plans to soon open at least one store in each state that incorporates the new fleet of beverage retail innovations, with any new stores opened to also get the refit.
The refits come as Woolworths moves closer to its $10bn demerger plans for its hotels and liquor arm Endeavour Group that was at first scuttled by the pandemic last year but is now on track to happen in June.
Mr Freudmann said he expected trends that emerged in COVID-19 - such as contactless pick-up of orders and a growing interest in local beers and wines - to continue once the pandemic recedes.
Drinkers are also increasingly interested in educating themselves about new styles and experimenting with beverages, and the new Dan Murphy's store refit in South Melbourne has a heavy weighting towards education.
At the heart of the store is a central area where customers can experience what Dan Murphy's is calling "magic moments", which include wine and spirit tastings, a merchant's corner with recommendations from the store's resident Wine Merchant and on-demand "micro-classes" hosted by in-store product experts.
"We know that our customers want to discover and educate themselves about the world of drinks, but many are pressed for time," Mr Freudmann said.
"The micro-classes are perfect for customers who have 10-15 minutes spare while browsing the store. They don't have to go through the hassle of booking in advance. Instead, these classes are on-demand so customers decide when it suits them."
At these education hubs, drinkers can learn about things such as organic and biodynamic wines. Topics will change over regularly and cover all categories of drinks, from wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. Customers can also choose to self-educate themselves by exploring highlighted areas in the stores, which will contain information about a specific product or segment.
There is also a greater curated store range, with the South Melbourne Dan Murphy's offering the retailer's largest selection of craft beer with more than 450 different products available.
The range offers the full breadth from freshly brewed craft beer in growlers and squealers brewed the same week as they are sold in the store. About 30 per cent of the beer range is made in Victoria, with many local breweries delivering their products directly to the store.
In terms of tech innovation, digital shelf labels have near field communication (NFC) technology, whereby consumers tap the shelf label with their smartphones to get more product information or read customer reviews about a specific product.
Mr Freudmann said shoppers preferring local beers and wines had emerged as a key trend during COVID-19. But he said drinkers were also looking for international beverages that could help them connect with countries that were inaccessible to them because of closed borders.
Originally published as 450 beers: First peek at new-look Dan's