In October 2022, Australian wine company Brown Family Wine Group announced the return of Brown Brothers to the UK market, after a four-year absence. The producer was at this year’s Prowein and Lucy Britner caught up with Brown Family Wine group chief executive Dean Carroll and chief marketing officer Ellie Vince to hear about their plans for the UK market.

Drinks Retailing: What happened and what can we expect from Brown Brothers?

Dean Carroll: We got to a model that wasn’t sustainable for Brown Brothers. We kept our other two brands in the market – Innocent Bystander and Tasmanian brand Devil’s Corner. But Brown Brothers just wasn’t working, so we thought we need to stop, rethink, take a break from the market and come back. And really we came back because there was consumer interest – there is an affinity with the brand. So we’re back on terms that we think can work for us and hopefully for the partners.

DR: What have you changed?

DC: We’ve changed our approach in terms of price points – we’ve gone up. And we’re changing our approach in terms of route to market – part of being here at Prowein is evolving that. We were with just a distributor when we left and I don’t think that’s the right model going forward. We will need to put more of our own resources and support in the market.  

Ellie Vince: It’s also about being mindful about the product and what we want the Brown Brothers brand to stand for. We’ve launched the Orange Muscat & Flora into the market, which has quite a difference positioning from the rest of the category in the UK. So it’s about where do we stand out and how can we have a point of different to deliver what consumers are looking for. Tarrango was another brand we were quite famous for, and we’re excited about that. It was probably a little bit ahead of its time and though it made inroads, the trend for lighter, fresh wines will hit the summer social occasion.  

DR: How do the brands fit into the duty rises for wine, coming in this August?

DC: You’ll see once the changes in taxation come through, all our wines are going to fit beautifully into those lower brackets because they are naturally made that way. We do Moscato that is down in that 5 or 6% abv and Sienna, which is another grape variety we do, is lower in alcohol. So we’ve naturally got those lines in the portfolio anyway and we’ve been talking a lot about that over the past couple of days at Prowein.

DR: Is there a danger with duty changes that consumers will associate abv with being premium, because arguably higher abv wines will be more expensive?

DC: It’s possible. Particularly red wines are going to be at those higher price points. But for expensive wine, it’s not going to make as much difference as say, the £6-10 mark.

DR: Anything else you want to tell our readers?

DC: There’s a real interest in Tasmania. Probably four out of five people from all over Europe that have come to the stand have an interest in Tasmania and that’s exciting for us.