Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Please include photo credit: Jodie Healy.
Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Please include photo credit: Jodie Healy. Jodie Healy

Pubs and bottle shops find it hard to compete

THE buying power of large companies like Coles and Woolworths is putting unwanted pressure on pubs and bottle shops in the Gladstone region to compete post COVID-19.

Smaller retailers are struggling to turn a profit on alcohol sales against the Supermarket owned giants like Dan Murphy's.

Miriam Vale Hotel owner Mitch Brennan said it had become increasing difficult to compete against the likes of the supermarket giants.

"The worst part for little pubs like us is we just don't have the buying power of the big boys," he said.

"I can get my grog cheaper out of Dan Murphy's in Gladstone or Bundaberg, than I can get out of the wholesalers in Brisbane.

"Then you have to add on freight.

"So to me that's totally wrong."

While he understands how the market works, Mr Brennan said there needed to be more help for the smaller retailers.

"I do understand they've got the buying power and they've got the turnover," he said.

"But there's got to be something to come out of this COVID thing to look after smaller little country pubs.

"They're just not pubs, they're the lifeblood of the town.

"Every single event in town is held here, from Pony Club, to CWA, and that's something that I pride myself on."

Previously, Mr Brennan called for more accessible government grants, cash injections, or low interest loans to help businesses relaunch.

People through the door, now restrictions are easing, will help.

"It looks like we wont get back into full swing until the end of July, these steps forward are good but we need to get bums on streets drinking tap beer," Mr Brennan said.

Grand Hotel Gladstone General Manager Michael Cahill said they closed their bottle shop last July.

"Since the large corporates were allowed into the Queensland market profit in the retail sector is extremely challenging unless you can create massive turnover combined with very low cost of goods which is the same business model as a large supermarkets use," he said.

"The price expectation that the big companies have created to drive sales

this way is one of the main contributing factors into many smaller retail outlets keep going to the wall."

An Endeavour Drinks spokeswoman said Dan Murphy's is a business established to serve customers, and as such is passionate about offering Australians a wide range of drinks to discover.

The spokeswoman said she could not comment on commercial agreements between local pubs and clubs in the region and their suppliers.

"Although Dan Murphy's offers in-store discounts for some wine brands when customers purchase six bottles, there are no additional discounts offered for purchasing a higher volume," the spokeswoman said.

"Dan Murphy's also has retail limits in place on how much customers can buy in one purchase to ensure everyone has access to drinks they love."



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