Written by Chona Suner-Narvadez
“Social responsibility is everyone’s responsibility. There’s always enough for everyone if we care to share in a responsible manner,“ so says Mr. Steven T. Cua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Inc (PAGASA), during his talk with the members of the Philippine Tropical Wines and Spirits Cluster, an informal group of local alcoholic beverage manufacturers.
Mr. Cua’s talk is the first of a series of consultations with the private sector on how the local wines and spirits manufacturers can penetrate the local market. Common constraints of the local wines and spirits industry is lack of product awareness and economies of scale to push prices down. Other constraints why local wines and spirits find it hard to penetrate supermarkets are the listing fees per stock-keeping unit and documentary requirements.
Some stores even require merchandisers for the product as well as funds for marketing support, such as advertisements in the in-house supermarket flyers and bigger trade discounts to accommodate sales promotions. There are even supermarkets that require a marketing plan from the manufacturers specifically on how their product will compete with other similar products in the supermarket.
Cua presented key concepts to the Cluster members to help them understand and penetrate the customers that supermarkets cater to. He emphasized that supermarkets have limited shelf-space and that not all items will sell well in a supermarket.
Meanwhile, the listing fees are non-negotiable as this is a measure of the seriousness of a supplier in distributing their products in a supermarket.
The Cluster is conceived with the help of individuals in the private sector; such as Monde-Nissin Biscuit Philippines Export Manager Mr. Ferdinand Chanpongco, and Glorious Industrial and Development Corporation Marketing Director Mr. Emmanuel “Oji” Reyes.
The Bureau of Export Trade Promotion prodded Chanpongco and Reyes to form the Philippine Tropical Wines and Spirits Cluster, following the success of the Philippine Confectioners, Biscuit & Snack Food Association.
Clustered together with a common interest, the Cluster will have one voice in showcasing to the world high quality health-laden alcoholic beverages from Philippine indigenous materials. Their mission is to professionalize the industry and capture niche markets here and abroad.
Aside from the Wines and Spirits Cluster, Chanpongco is also doing more than his fair share in developing the trade clusters for calamansi and sweet preserves. A cluster for the mango producers will soon be underway.
Walking the talk
Aided by the DA Agribusiness Exports Showroom housed at the Department of Agriculture, the Cluster began in 2011 and meets at least once a month to form their common mission, vision, objectives, and strategies as a group. Now assisted by the DA Agribusiness and Market Assistance Service (AMAS) Office, the Cluster has identified its president as well as the chairs and members of the working committees.
This year, 2012, then is the year for the cluster to walk the talk. With the primary objective to be the main voice of Philippine wines & spirits advocating for professionalism and protection from imported brands, the Cluster has a lot of work to do.
PhilRice is engaged in the Cluster with its PhilRice Tapuy Rice Wine – a clear, full-bodied wine with luxurious alcoholic flavor, moderate sweetness and lingering finish. As a member of this cluster, awareness of the PhilRice Tapuy will surely increase along with other equally quality alcoholic beverages from the Philippines. Its Marketing Manager, Chona Suner-Narvadez is the chairperson of the Cluster’s Marketing Committee, and thus works closely with industry partners and other stakeholders.
Building the category
PhilRice then is increasing awareness of not just the Tapuy Rice Wine but in building a whole category – Philippine wines and spirits. At this point, the members of the Cluster need to work as a team to be able to create noise for Philippine Wines and Spirits. Once there is awareness on the availability of quality locally made wines and liquors, then each member can strategically execute their individual marketing plans.
The strength of the Cluster is the quality, passion, and dedication of its members. In their words, their vision is for “the Philippines to be Asia’s best source of tropical fruit wines and spirits with social and environmental responsibility. Our drinks will be sought after worldwide for their exotic taste and health benefits.”
With this kind of vision, multiplied by passion and persistence, these partnerships will surely add up in helping the country in a big, intoxicating way.
Members of the Philippine Tropical Wines and Spirits Cluster
Federico’s Island Wine
Tropical Fruit Winery Corp.
Green Rescue Organic
Dielle’s Apiary & Meadery Ent.
Philippine Rice Research Institute
SJB Liberica Ent.
Puentespina Orchids & Tropical Plants, Inc.
Broad Chem Phils