It’s been a year of consolidation for Stoney Goose Ridge. We continue to deliver joy to our growing cohort of enthusiastic consumers, our alcoholised portfolio suite providing a real buzz. For the first time under my inspirational stewardship, we did not achieve at least 20% sales growth – although this benchmark is obviously harder to achieve each year. However, we smashed targets on margin, profit, customer stickiness and all social media measures. Although Forbes does not include us in their top 200, Interbrand and Millward Brown have both recognised the unparalleled trajectory of Stoney Goose Ridge in their brand valuation methodologies. Further, with a venture into Bitcoin, in technical parlance, we made “a motza”.
I don’t blame COVID and the massive tariffs imposed by China for market difficulties. These did not affect Stoney Goose Ridge directly. However, the hopelessly myopic antics of our competitors dumping their bloated wine inventories did not help. Adept in brand trashing and customer loyalty damage, they initiated a price war in a race to the bottom. Stoney Goose Ridge does not participate in this value destruction. Incidentally, we were offered land under vine, bulk and packaged wine stock, plant and equipment, warehousing, bottling lines and much more. Where appropriate, we made very selective purchases at derisory prices. These acquired assets will drive profits for years to come.
The only new product launched this year was our “found” whisky Glen 20. We had sufficient complications sourcing quality material to match the growth of our many other wine, beer and spirit brands to meet the insatiable appetite of our hyperloyal customer base. Mind, we have enormous plans for the coming year with a veritable tsunami in the pipeline. Sourcing, blending, branding, labels, press releases, launch plans, and the supply chain are all prepared, so watch out!
Few companies boast a CEO with a Rhodes Scholarship, Harvard MBA and the youngest-ever full partner at one of the “big 4” management consulting companies, even negotiating bonuses during internship. As a multi-millionaire during my first year at university through options trading and property development, my record is startling. The numerous academic awards and accolades achieved throughout my education are a sidelight. After a lucrative stint helping dramatically improve the fortunes of many enterprises, and resisting countless headhunters, I took a career break to nurture Stoney Goose Ridge from a modest medium-sized family company into an international powerhouse.
Litigation progress has been slowed by court sluggishness; fortunately, this stalling enabled numerous new actions to be initiated on trademarks, enforcing our detailed contracts, and drafting the necessary background papers and legislation to improve our financial well-being. Stoney Goose Ridge remains an exemplar in the utilisation of low-tax domiciles and our absolute exploitation of COVID business subsidies.
I have participated in fewer seminars this year; Zoom is not the most appropriate medium to display my sublime networking wizardry. Obviously, I could have indulged in essential overseas business travel, but being required to quarantine would have limited my whirlwind brainstorming. COVID thus ensured greater availability for relentless hands-on mentoring of my local top talent; however it complicated my essential wine blending prowess. Samples needed to be transported to me, meaning reduced efficiency in my mentorship of winery staff on how their efforts can be improved in quality, marketability and profitability – just one of my obsessive critical tasks.
Like most staff, COVID has impacted my home life too; my daughter’s ballet and equestrian dressage interests were restricted; my son’s yachting and marlin fishing challenged; my wife’s charity routines severely curtailed. We did not go to Aspen or the Seychelles this year, having to economise with short glamping breaks in Broome, Noosa, Queenstown and Port Douglas.
Our liquor rivals’ inarticulate PR-led keywords of “pivot”, “premiumisation” and “transitioning” made me vomit. Apart from their public bleatings, these “leaders” are on the back foot trying to keep their ships flying under the radar. Shareholder revolt is overdue to abandon these pedestrian bunglers and tackle their undeserved exorbitant remuneration and unmerited bonuses. Look at their hamfisted two-left-feet performance like lemmings in the headlights, lacking any cogent strategy, urgency or implementation skills. Contrast this situation where even my own anticipated compensation package was somewhat diluted by events.
I remain committed to the ongoing recruitment, development, pastoral care and ESG responsibilities for Stoney Goose Ridge staff, consultants, contractors, interns, and counterparts within our subsidiaries and related entities. In my Board roles at various business representative groups, I have been uniquely forceful in facilitating strategic amelioration stakeholder collaborative frameworks, driving B2B blockchain and streamlining transnational market regulation rationalisation.
The corporate jet has been used less; its pilots and my drivers had to share in less glamorous essential business tasks. Many staff were required to work from home; thankfully our collaborative software and sophisticated realtime online tracking ensured rigorous compliance to KPI responsibilities. Nevertheless, the bonus pool was diluted by circumstances, and only superhuman efforts such as my own can be rewarded. This will be explained forcefully in looming performance appraisals for staff that survived the periodic position culls. Challenging new targets will be confirmed, with maximum exertions necessary.
Your esteemed leader through adversity and paradigm upheavals, Hector Lannible