The next chapter for Kollaras & Co

25 June, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

Kollaras & Co has sold its portfolio of award-winning private and exclusive brands to Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM).

Since 2015, the two businesses have had a strategic relationship where they worked together to source and supply brands for ALM’s private and exclusive label strategy. And over that time they developed a market-leading model that has been a resounding success.

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But as one chapter closes, another one opens, and National Liquor News can reveal that Kollaras & Co has signed on to represent an additional 50 Australian and New Zealand craft brands, which they plan to take into emerging markets.

“Our award-winning portfolio and the way in which we approach brand development will remain important to us in our next stage of our evolution,” Group Managing Director, John Kollaras, told National Liquor News.

Whilst we knew our method was an innovative model with great prospects of success, what we have delivered has exceeded our expectations. So taking the learnings of that model, looking at where the market is and thinking about what else we can do are central to our approach. For example, we have signed on to represent an additional 50 Australian and New Zealand craft brands, with the intention of taking them into emerging markets using our go-to-market strategy to break down barriers for small operators to gain export traction.

“Our plans in this area have circled around growing our brand sales base through our excellent customer network – particularly in Asia, but also in all other parts of the world. We will also continue to drive our global cruise strategy, which is working really well, to again leverage our experience in working with cruise in the Asia Pacific to expand into markets that are even larger.

“The model is incredibly unique, and the category is hot. To say we are excited for our next chapter is an understatement.”

Celebrating 60 years

This year also marks a pretty special milestone for Kollaras & Co as they celebrate 60 years of operation.

The family-owned and operated business came from very humble beginnings, when a Greek immigrant decided to set up a small fruit shop in Wollongong.

Since then, the business has continued to evolve and through the years there have been many different chapters to its story.

What began as a fruit shop grew into a company that literally distributes beverages to every continent of the world.

“At our core, we have always retained a real sense of going after every opportunity, thinking outside the box and having tenacity in our approach to everything that we do,” says Kollaras. “Sometimes that isn’t what the textbooks tell you to do – we have some unique channels in our business and do some interesting things that are a huge part of our DNA that makes us different.

“If I think about some of the highlights, pivoting from almost purely a box-moving trading business to delivering award-winning brands has been a real highlight – particularly in international markets where that is really challenging.

“I also think a good example of our unique approach is our embassy and consular department, who service the global diplomatic sector, including those in the armed forces in the Middle East to the Australian Antarctic division, right through to our South Pacific business.

“It’s been rewarding to watch the incremental growth and opportunities, considering how complex these businesses are.

“It’s really something to think, our Grandfather – an immigrant settling into Australia, had just set up a small fruit shop which would become the humble beginnings of our business. Looking back on the last six decades, it’s been quite the journey and something we are very proud of.”

Kollaras: An evolution