Schaafsma reveals three-pronged plan for Broadland

db exclusive: Former Accolade CEO Paul Schaafsma has revealed his three-pronged development plan for UK importer and bottler Broadland Wineries.

Paul Schaafsma enjoys working for companies that either need to be grown, changed or fixed

Following the announcement last Monday that Schaafsma has taken on the role of CEO at Broadland Wineries, the drinks business met with him to find out more about his plans for the Norfolk-based wine importer and bottler, which specialises in British-made wine and private label, most famously for UK supermarket chain Asda.

Schaafsma has a long history of brand development in the UK, most notably at Australian Vintage, where he built the McGuigan brand into a major player in the multiples, and then at Accolade Wines, where, in particular, he re-invigorated Hardy’s sales and image in the market, while creating a huge demand for New Zealand’s Mudhouse label from virtually nothing.

From last week, however, he faces a new challenge: giving Broadland Wineries a much bigger presence in all key aspects of the UK wine trade.

And, as Schaafsma admits, he enjoys taking on testing tasks.

“I enjoy working for companies that either need to be grown, changed or fixed, and Broadlands is a company that needs a commercial injection,” he told db on Friday, adding, “From the sales and marketing point of view we need to take the business to the next step – it is already extraordinary from a technical and operations perspective.”

Currently, Broadland Wineries, which was established in 1965, is primarily a wine importer and bottler supplying branded and private label wines to the UK, US and Nordic markets.

But Schaafsma wants to expand its existing areas of expertise as well as adding a new aspect to Broadland’s business.

As part of a three-prong approach to enlarging the company, he wants to create an agency business for Broadlands, while also building wholly-owned Broadland brands, and expanding the company’s British made wine and fruit fusion capabilities.

Speaking about the former, he said, “Due to consolidation in the UK, there are large producers looking for a new home in the UK, and we can provide them with distribution and packaging.”

Then, with emphasis, he added, “We are interested in speaking to serious producers looking for a long term partnership.”

As for his brand-building plans, he told db that the focus would be on creating labels from the New World countries of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile, while also stressing the potential for British-made wine in the UK, particularly with cost increases coming on European wines due to a small vintage this year and the relative weakness of the Pound versus the Euro following the Brexit-vote last year.

“With the pressure on the cost of imported wines, and with an impending global shortage of bulk wine, if you want to hit certain price points [in the UK], then I think British-made wine will become more relevant, and I think Broadland is the only bottler doing varietal British-made wines.”

Continuing he said, “We have got all the toys to provide the solutions that customers want from an operational point of view; what we need to do now is overlay the marketing and sales capacity to interact with those customers in an appropriate way so they can handle all channels – the multiples, the indies and the on-trade.”

Considering existing Broadland British-made wine brands such as Three Mills and Le Soleil Fruit Fusion, he said, “We can do whatever you like in terms of flavour profile and style, and for customers buying at £3-5, if [British-made wine] keeps them happy and, given the pressure on people’s wallets, then it’s fantastic, as long as it’s at a quality level that is good for the wine industry – and Broadlands has done a lot of work from a technical point of view to get this right.”

More generally, Schaafsma said that Broadlands has the scope to expand its bottling capacity.

“We are turning over £60 million and we have the capability to pack 50 million litres of wine per year, but that could potentially increase to 60 million if we ran seven days a week – currently we run for five,” he recorded.

However, he added, “We hope that as our brands grow, so will our production – but we are not going to fill the factory just to fill the factory.”

Finally, Schaafsma, who left the UK for Australia when he was promoted from general manager of the UK and Ireland to CEO of Accolade Wines in September 2015, told db that he was pleased to be back in the UK.

“I have been overwhelmed at how many people have welcomed me back to the UK market… it is great to be among friends again,” he said.

In short: Schaafma’s 3 step plan for Broadland:

1. Create Broadland-owned brands from New World wine-producing countries

2. Build an agency business comprising large producers looking for a new long-term partner in the UK

3. Expand Broadland’s British-made wine and fruit-fusion capabilities to meet £3-5 on-shelf price points in the UK (per 75cl bottle)

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