Food cold chain education needed and is coming soon

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated.  It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate. This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth $3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Winners of SA Food and Beverage Industry Awards announced

Businesses producing premium food and beverages that have become synonymous with South Australia’s international reputation were among the winners announced at the 2020 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre tonight.

Winners included quiet achievers such as Dinko Tuna Farmers and Lifestyle Bakery, and consumer favourites Alexandrina Cheese Company and Robern Menz.

The 2020 inductee into the Awards Hall of Fame is Mitolo Family Farms, who specialise in combining traditional farming techniques with the very latest technology, and have been supplying quality produce to Australian families for almost half a century.

This year’s Leader Award was presented to Michael Horrocks of Lifestyle Bakery in recognition of his innovative leadership in developing the gluten free bakery sector, while the Next Generation Award, created to recognise an up and coming industry professional, was awarded to Kieran Donoghue of Safcol Australia.

The Emerging Business Award went to Never Never Distilling Co, makers of Australia’s very first Grenache gin, while Golden North’s Simply Indulge range of ice cream and Goolwa PipiCo’s Whole Clam Chowder won New Product Awards this year.

“When we launched the 2020 South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards, we already knew this year’s theme of Sharing our Stories was very appropriate,” says Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer.

“As everyone has been saying all year, none of us expected what 2020 has served to us, so it has been especially inspiring to learn the stories behind the winning businesses in this year’s awards,” Ms Sayer said.

“The challenges of 2020 aren’t the first obstacles many of our winners have overcome, but in this new COVID-normal world, the grit and resilience of an industry that is so important to South Australia’s economic wellbeing is being celebrated tonight.”

Interest in the awards program and in South Australian products has continued to grow this year, with a 15% increase in entries and over 11,000 consumers voting for their favourite business for the Consumer Award.

“The South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards program has showcased innovation and excellence in our industry for more than 20 years. These are the businesses that have helped drive growth for the sector, created brands known across Australia and internationally, and helped build our state’s reputation for premium products across the globe,” said Ms Sayer.

“One of the key benefits of this awards program is that winners and finalists can use this recognition as evidence of excellence for new customers and in new markets,” she said.

The Premier of South Australia, the Hon Steven Marshall MP said he is proud to present the winners of the South Australian Premier’s Food and Beverage Industry Awards.  

“Congratulations to the food and beverage industry whose hard work and innovation is recognised through these awards,” the Premier said.

“The sector has grown in 2020, even through the difficult year that we have endured. The sector is characterised by excellence in food and beverage production, manufacturing and marketing to ensure that South Australian products are rewarded by more than their fair share of the retail and food service market,” he said

2020 Winners

Hall of Fame, sponsored by San Remo
2020 Inductee: Mitolo Family Farms

Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Visy
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Goolwa PipiCo
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Sundrop Farms

Emerging Business Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Never Never Distilling Co

Export Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Dinko Tuna Farmers
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Yumbah Aquaculture

Innovation in Business Award, sponsored by Department for Trade and Investment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Dinko Tuna Farmers
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Team Unico

Innovation in Food or Beverage Award, sponsored by Food Processing Equipment
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: All The Things
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Lifestyle Bakery

New Product Award, sponsored by Foodland Supermarkets
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Goolwa PipiCo (Whole Clam Chowder)
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Golden North Ice Cream (Simply Indulge range)

Primary Producer Award, sponsored by Thomas Foods International
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: feather&PECK – pastured eggs
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Fleurieu Milk Company

Sustainability Award, sponsored by Peats Soils & Garden Supplies
Winner – Sundrop Farms

Leader Award, sponsored by Bickford’s Group
Winner -Michael Horrocks, Lifestyle Bakery

Next Generation Award, sponsored by Macro Group Australia
Winner – Kieran Donoghue, Safcol Australia

Consumer Award, sponsored by Statewide Super
Winner – Businesses with up to 15 FTEs: Alexandrina Cheese Company
Winner – Businesses with more than 15 FTEs: Robern Menz

Opihr's Oriental Spice Gin

OPIHR’s Oriental Spiced Gin is a London Dry Gin, rooted in the Ancient Spice Route and inspired by the adventurous spirit of merchants travelling thousands of miles to trade exotic spices and botanicals from distant lands. It is made using exotic hand-picked botanicals, herbs and spices of the Orient, including spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, cardamom and Tellicherry black pepper from India, and coriander from Morocco.

Also available to enjoy this Christmas are pre-mixed Gin & Tonic, and pre-mixed Gin & Tonic with a twist of Orange, both featuring OPIHR Oriental Spiced Gin.

Karma Drinks looks to raise capital

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped Kiwi organic drinks maker, Karma Drinks, raising money to accelerate its New Zealand growth plans and ambitions for new product development (NPD).
Co-founded in Grey Lynn, Auckland in 2012 by Simon Coley and brothers Chris and Matt Morrison, the organic and Fairtrade beverage company was formed with the vision to produce ethically sourced drinks (including sodas, juices and kombuchas), with a portion of the proceeds from each bottle going back to the cola growers’ families via the Karma Foundation.
Karma Drinks co-founder, Chris Morrison, says that despite what is a turbulent time, the organisation is committed to spreading good karma and continuing their global expansion and approach to innovation. Health and well-being are key drivers for their NPD strategy, especially as people have become much more health conscious and aware of what they are consuming.
Read More: Woolworths’ new $135 million Melbourne Fresh DC
“One of the most significant shifts in the global soft drinks market is to continuously satisfy customer desires with new product attributes. This will be a key component of our NPD strategy as we see significant opportunities to grow and diversify our customer base with an exciting pipeline of products to be released over the next few years.
“Whilst we’ve established ourselves as leaders in the organic fizzy drinks market, our plan is to now evolve our range to include health-focussed carbonated soft drinks, including natural energy drinks, plant-based drinks and a reduced sugar and no sugar range in our sodas,” said Morrison.
Karma Drinks is seeking to raise NZ$2m to progress their innovative NPD plans and also fund the company’s domestic growth strategy over the next three years, including re-capitalising strategic partnerships in the UK and plans to expand into Asia, Australia and the US.
Karma Drinks’ new CEO, Ben Dando, joined the company earlier this year, only two weeks before lockdowns hit the UK and New Zealand. Dando says despite the unpredictable and challenging start, the company is now on track for its strongest financial year in the last five years, having continued to innovate and navigate the company through these times.
“While COVID-19 has certainly shifted our strategy, our entire mission remains the same – continue to produce drinks that not only taste good but do good too. We’re determined to be a good example of how the food and beverage industry can continue to positively impact both the people and the planet despite challenging times. Our aim is to bring joy to our consumers, support our growers and bring the power of Karma to more consumers globally.”
“We have an exciting journey ahead, with huge ambitions and expansion plans for the brand, this capital raise will certainly help us achieve our goals and emerge as a stronger and better business post-pandemic,” says Dando.
The business generated approximately NZ$12m in sales last year and predicts to achieve NZ$19.7m sales by FY23 through this investment.

Calabria Family Wines buys brands

Australian winemaker Calabria Family Wines has bought three Australian wine brands –  Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara. The formal agreement is a brand-only sale and transfers ownership of these brands from the Wingara Wine Group, part of Henkell Freixenet, to the Calabria family.
Calabria Family Wines will now produce all of the wines across each of the brands’ portfolios from their Griffith, NSW winery as well as manage marketing across all markets. Calabria Family Wines will continue the current distribution partnership with Red & White for all three brands in Australia.
“Each of these brands brings something new to the table for the team at Calabria and we are eager to welcome them to the family as we diversify and broaden our wine offering,” third-generation general manager Michael Calabria said.
Read More: Deal activity slows
“Deakin Estate, with over 50 years of winemaking history behind it, has achieved outstanding distribution, particularly in challenging export markets where many haven’t. That can only happen with a good quality product and dedicated team behind it.
“Both La La Land and Azahara, while newer to market, are unique brands with well-established portfolios and market presence, both domestically and overseas. We look forward to relishing in La La Land’s dedication to emerging wine styles with our own Italian alternatives and celebrating Azahara’s effervescent flare and sophistication.”
Wingara Wine Group is part of Henkell Freixenet, a global market leader in sparkling wine, which was formed in January 2019 from the legacy Henkell & Co. Group and Grupo Freixenet.

Rockwell Automation improves productivity and reduces risk with the release of PlantPAx 5.0

Rockwell Automation has released the PlantPAx 5.0 distributed control system (DCS). This latest DCS version from Rockwell Automation helps industrial producers positively impact the lifecycle of their plant operations with plant-wide and scalable systems to drive digital transformation and operational excellence.
New system capabilities help digitally transform operations by introducing process functionality native to the controller, improving the availability of system assets driving compliance in regulated industries, while enabling the adoption of analytics at all levels of the enterprise. Intuitive workflows and the use of industry-leading cybersecurity standards will help teams design, deploy, and support a DCS infrastructure which reduces time-to-market and helps plants realize profit at a faster rate.
“We’re excited to bring PlantPAx DCS 5.0 to our customers,” said Jim Winter, global process director, Rockwell Automation. “New system features are step changes in helping our customers lower the overall costs to design and commission. The functionality improves the overall effort to integrate the process control layer to the enterprise. By reducing the lifecycle cost of the system and lowering operational risks, we are continuing to find innovative ways to bring more value to end users.”
Process end users desire a system that offers the benefits of a modern experience without the burdens that come with a traditional DCS. The new 5.0 release innovates the modern DCS in the following areas:

  • Reduced Footprint
    • This release introduces new process controllers and extends the Logix family with cutting-edge processing power and capacity to reduce the complexity of PlantPAx architectures. This action reduces total cost of ownership of the system throughout the lifecycle.
  • Project Consistency
    • With native process instructions embedded in the controller firmware, project teams can adopt approaches to control strategies that drive consistency for individual projects or multi-site deployments. Consistency simplifies the lifecycle management of deployed systems as teams modernize their automation infrastructure. Consistency lowers total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Streamlined Workflows
    • PlantPAx 5.0 provides improved design and operational user experiences. Development teams will realize savings in the configuration of instrumentation, alarms and diagnostic system elements. Operators will have the extended ability to view underlying control logic in a safe and secured manner. Maintenance will have controlled view access for troubleshooting.
  • TÜV -Certified for Cybersecurity
    • To operate at peak performance and minimize cybersecurity threats, PlantPAx 5.0 system architectures are TÜV certified to the international standard ISA-99/IEC 62443-3-3 which provides guidance on the implementation of an electronically secured system.
  • Analytics Enabled
    • Process end users recognize the value of analytics as an essential strategy to realize profit in their process operations. The PlantPAx 5.0 release has purpose-built frameworks that easily connect live and historical data from the DCS into reporting and analytical tools.
    • Enables extended experiences, such as Augmented Reality, using workflows aligned with process strategies controlling plant operations.
    • Allows extensible scalable analytic packages leveraging predictive and prescriptive models for process applications such as soft sensors, anomaly detection, or model predictive control.

As producers continue their digital transformation journey, the advances from this system release will help them unlock value and reduce overall costs at all phases of the plant lifecycle. For more information about PlantPAx DCS 5.0, please visit


Beer consumption suffered during lockdown

Across the globe, beer consumption suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages of 2020. In some countries – such as South Africa – alcohol consumption was restricted, while others – like Mexico – classified brewing as a non-essential activity and ceased beer production.
“In most countries, consumers faced a lockdown and the on-premise channel was closed, creating varying degrees of pain for nearly all brewers,” according to Francois Sonneville, Senior Analyst – Beverages at Rabobank .
“In North America, the overall market has held up relatively well, helped by its reliance on off-trade sales and stellar e-commerce growth. Brewers large and small have proved surprisingly nimble and adaptable – which may lead to notable changes to the on-premise moving forward,” says Sonneville. Craft brewers, who are more dependent on the on-trade, have so far avoided closures, although the winter might impact those dependent on outdoor seating.
Read More: Food fraud being uncovered
In Europe, on-trade markets have been hit hard, especially in tourist areas, and beer
going stale in kegs has caused additional problems. As new Covid cases are on the
rise and the risk of a second lockdown increases, chain integration might help to
lower costs.
Despite a sharp recovery in China, the loss of summer sales will hang over 2020
Asian beer volumes. As China comprises 70% of total Asian beer consumption, it is
critical to recovery. Thailand and Japan have shown smart recoveries in Q3 2020. For
the rest of Asia, specifically, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, there are mixed

Australian wine company growing export sales

While many areas of Australia’s economy are struggling under the weight of COVID, one local business is pushing forward with export growth across Europe and Canada.
Headquartered in McLaren Vale, Leconfield Wines is Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaking business. Owned by Dr Richard Hamilton and his wife, Jette, Hamilton is a fifth generation descendant of Richard Hamilton 1st who planted South Australia’s first wine producing vineyards in 1837. Leconfield Wines takes in Leconfield Wines in Coonawarra and Richard Hamilton Wines in McLaren Vale. Its brands include Leconfield, Richard Hamilton Wines and Syn Sparkling Wines.
Leconfield has a history of producing top-quality, award-winning wines. Its wines are sold across Australia, overseas and also served aboard Jetstar business class and on Great Southern Rail trains including The Ghan, Indian Pacific, Great Southern and The Overland.
“COVID has been challenging for us. As winemakers that sell our products direct to consumers through our membership and into restaurants and other hospitality outlets across the country, sales have been hit through the closure of venues.  The latest lock down in Victoria is particularly challenging,” Hamilton said.
“We have also experienced mixed results overseas with some markets including China reducing spend.
“However in the face of this, we have also risen to the challenge. We have restructured to focus on building collaborative partnerships and foster growth in other overseas markets, and these strategies are already starting to yield great results.
“Damian White has been appointed to the newly created role of Sales and Marketing Director.  He is firmly focused on expansion of our international market, alongside our valued domestic and online platform partners.  Christine Says has been appointed to the role of CFO to help manage the complexities of our burgeoning overseas markets to ensure strong growth and firm cost control.
“The recent decision by Canada to remove tariffs on the import of Australian wines has also opened up new opportunities for us too.”
Leconfield has been approved for distribution and sale in three Canadian provinces:  Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec.
“We are extremely excited about this and are looking to augment our presence to other provinces as well,” Hamilton added.
“In addition to Canada, we have secured new opportunities in Finland and Belgium. In Belgium, we have partnered with Belgian food retailer, Delhaize, to supply a private label Coonawarra Shiraz under the name of Dalebrook Farm. We are already in talks regarding line extensions. This opportunity and various other emerging ones are really proving very positive for us moving forward.
“Our senior winemaker, Paul Gordon is doing an excellent job of creating new and exciting wines from our vineyards. His ability to craft, blend and perfect is delivering superb results for us and really bolstering our ability to continually impress the market with wonderful wines.
“Kate Mooney, our marketing and events manager, who has been with us for nearly seven years, is hard at work refreshing and developing our labels and packaging to ensure we stand out on shelves, catalogues and online sites.
“Despite the challenges we are facing here at home, we are determined to achieve growth. We’ve been through droughts, the Spanish Flu, world wards, the great depression, recessions, the GFC and now COVID.  You could say ‘we are battle hardened’ and we are not about to let a virus dampen our prospects. We are all in this together, and certainly at Leconfield Wines, we are determined to get through to the other side.
“We are very lucky.  At the end of the day, we can sit back and relax with a good drop.  One of the benefits of winemaking.”

Sheep, cheese, vodka and sustainability in Tasmania

Hartshorn Distillery, winner of the Beverage of the Year at the 2017 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, uses a cheese making waste product to create alcoholic beverages. Matthew McDonald writes.

About 15 years ago, Ryan Hartshorn’s family moved from Queensland to southern Tasmania with the idea of establishing a dual wine and sheep-cheese-making business.

As Hartshorn, a director and owner of Grandvewe Cheeses and Hartshorn Distillery told Food & Beverage Industry News, given that nobody in the family had experience in these fields, the move was a gamble. His mother Diane Rae did much of the early work. Among other things, she travelled to Europe to learn from experienced cheese makers.

From the outset, sustainability was a key priority for the business. For example, the original idea involved the sheep doing the job of maintaining (eating) the vegetation between the vines. Unfortunately, the sheep weren’t disciplined enough to limit themselves to grass and destroyed the vines themselves. So the vineyard was abandoned in favour of just the cheesery.

Hartshorn Distillery's Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).



Then, three years ago, Hartshorn decided to take another gamble. “I started to get a bit sick of the cheese side of the business and wanted to have my own creation. I decided to learn how to distill. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how I could make a distillery relevant to a cheesery and how they could work together,” he said.

The obvious path would have been to make milk liquors, but Hartshorn wanted to try something different. He had heard about a business in Ireland using cow whey (a cheese making by-product) to make alcohol and decided to try something similar with sheep whey.

“I asked the Irish operation how to do it but they wouldn’t tell me,” he said. So he had to work it out for himself.

The process of using lactose (the complex sugar found in whey) to make alcohol is not simple because fermentation requires a basic (not complex) sugar.

The only way to transform the lactose into a basic sugar is to use enzymes to break down its protein molecules. Hartshorn read about some enzymes that might be able to do this. With the help of some food technologists in Melbourne, and by a long process of trial and error, he identified the right enzymes and then started to develop his products.

Today, Hartshorn Distillery makes Sheep Whey Gin, Sheep Whey Vodka (which took out the aforementioned award) and Vanilla Whey Liqueur. After three years of operation, the distillery has now overtaken the cheesery, accounting for about 60 per cent of the overall business.

Experience is crucial

Hartshorn emphasised the fact that, in his case, taking a risk and innovating was not easy. He advises others considering taking such a step to first make sure they have plenty of experience behind them.

“I don’t think I could have done this if I came straight from working for someone else. I’d worked in my business (the cheesery) for 12 or thirteen years before making this leap,” he said. “So I had a pretty good understanding of the market. I wasn’t in the alcohol industry but there are a lot of similar factors involved. I had an idea what the market wanted.

“Basically, if you want to innovate, you need to do your research. You need to make sure you know what’s out there and what’s not out there, then try and fill those gaps.”

There is another unique aspect to Hartshorn Distillery. All its bottles are hand-painted and one-of-a-kind. As Hartshorn explained, nobody has copied this. “Big companies can’t really do it because of the work involved,” he said.

The distillery has grown by an impressive 600 per cent in the last year and, while Hartshorn is currently focusing his energies on keeping on top of this demand, he conceded that he may have to soon start thinking about adding some new buildings to the operation.

“I’ll keep my range the same but I’ll keep changing the bottle design. I want to do more collector items,” said Hartshorn.

Whatever happens, sustainability will remain important to the business. “We’ve been trying to use our waste almost from the beginning. We do a few other little lesser-known products like making fudge from whey,” he said. “We also make some of our older sheep into a sausage that we sell through our cheesery. And we make a fruit paste that goes with our cheese made from the waste of wine making.”

For more information on the Awards, or to get involved for 2018, click here.

Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.


Major organisations supporting 2018 Drinks Industry Show

Two major drinks industry organisations, along with publisher Food & Beverage Media, have thrown their support behind the 2018 Drinks Industry Show.

Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT and the Restaurant & Catering Association (R&CA) have both announced their support of the revamped industry show for 2018, which will be held from 18-19 June at Dockside in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

“The Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT is pleased to again support and partner with The Drinks Industry Show. We look forward to collaborating to develop a strong program that delivers a unique and valuable educational and networking experience for our members and the broader retail liquor industry,” said Michael Waters, Association Executive Director of the Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT.

R&CA CEO Juliana Payne was also upbeat about supporting the show.

“The Drinks Industry Show offers Australia’s food and liquor industries a unique way to work together to improve the consumer experience. Having the perfect opportunity to trial Australian wines and beverages that suit their menus enhances the potential for Australia’s restaurants, cafés and caterers to benefit from turnover and customer loyalty. The association is proud to support this show, which clearly supports the Australian industry,” she said.

Building on the strong points of last year’s show, industry-leading workshops, seminars, taste testings and networking will again be strong elements in the 2018 event.

Both exhibitors and visitors value the educational components, with highly positive feedback about the quality of the speakers and seminar content. The 2018 program will address key industry trends and challenges, offering the drinks trade a unique opportunity to discuss and have their say in the industry’s future direction.

With face-to-face still the best way of doing business, this year will see two networking events in both a welcome and closing reception. These enjoyable, highly useful occasions will allow attendees to engage and develop meaningful connections for their enterprises.

And to guide attendees through discovering the latest flavour combinations, a Pairing Station will be added in 2018. Top industry professionals will showcase and demonstrate “what’s hot” for attendees via a thoughtfully prepared menu.

Keurig, Dr Pepper Snapple merge to create beverage giant

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Keurig Green Mountain have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create Keurig Dr Pepper (“KDP”), a new beverage company of scale with a portfolio of iconic consumer brands and unrivalled distribution capability to reach virtually every point-of-sale in North America.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Dr Pepper Snapple Board of Directors, Dr Pepper Snapple shareholders will receive US$103.75 per share in a special cash dividend and retain 13 per cent of the combined company.

KDP will have pro forma combined 2017 annual revenues of approximately $11 billion. This combination of two iconic beverage companies joins together well-known brands Dr Pepper, 7UP, Snapple, A&W, Mott’s and Sunkist with leading coffee brand Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the innovative Keurig single-serve coffee system, as well as more than 75 owned, licensed and partner brands in the Keurig system.

Larry Young, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dr Pepper Snapple, said, “This transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders, along with the opportunity to participate in the long-term upside potential of our combined company and attract new brands and beverage categories to our platform in a fast-changing industry landscape. We are excited to combine with Keurig to build on the rich heritage and expertise of both companies and provide the highest-quality hot and cold beverages to satisfy every consumer throughout the day.”

Bob Gamgort, Chief Executive Officer of Keurig, said, “Our view of the industry through the lens of consumer needs, versus traditional manufacturer-defined segments, unlocks the opportunity to combine hot and cold beverages and create a platform to increase exposure to high-growth formats. The combination of Dr Pepper Snapple and Keurig will create a new scale beverage company which addresses today’s consumer needs, with a powerful platform of consumer brands and an unparalleled distribution capability to reach virtually every consumer, everywhere. We are fortunate to have talented leadership teams within both companies, and I look forward to working together with the Dr Pepper Snapple team to make this combination a success for all of our stakeholders.”

Keurig and Dr Pepper Snapple will continue to operate out of their current locations and Bob Gamgort, CEO of the combined company, will be based in Burlington, Mass. The combined company will draw on the leadership teams of both companies, who will continue running their respective businesses.

Australian wine excites at Australia Day Tasting, London

Australian wine was celebrated at this week’s Australia Day Tasting (ADT) in London, Wine Australia’s largest trade tasting internationally.

The tasting in London on Tuesday 23 January showcased nearly 1100 wines from 41 different regions. Over 1000 visitors attended from across the United Kingdom (UK) and European wine trade, including buyers from multiple retailers and independent specialists, sommeliers, journalists and educators.

Thirty-eight winemakers and winery owners flew over to pour their wines and meet the trade – Andrew Hardy (Petaluma), Scott McWilliam (McWilliams), Jeremy Dineen (Josef Chromy), Martin Spedding (Ten Minutes by Tractor), Robyn Pfeiffer (Pfeiffer Wines), Toby Porter (d’Arenberg), Christian Dal Zotto (Dal Zotto) and Mary Dickinson (Dickinson Estate) amongst others. Also attending from Australia was Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark who launched the ‘State of the Sector’ report.

Clark reported that in the 12 months ending December 2017, Australian wine exports globally increased by 15 per cent to A$2.56 billion, the highest growth rate since 2004.

Guests tried the latest vintages of wines from iconic brands such as Penfolds, Torbreck and Yalumba and made new discoveries like Dickinson Estate, Eccentric Wines and MÉRITE that are seeking distribution. Of the 243 wineries featured, 18 producers are not yet in market in the UK.

Visitors also participated in master classes – Margaret River presented by Sarah Ahmed and McLaren Vale presented by Richard Hemming MW – and joined a seminar on rotundone in Shiraz led by Con Simos from The Australian Wine Research Institute.

The quantity and variety of wines at ADT points to the growing interest and demand for Australian premium wines in the UK. It also echoes the findings of Wine Australia’s latest Export Report, released on 23 January, which shows that exports to the UK at A$20/L and above increased by 4.5 per cent to A$8.8 million. UK off-trade sales figures are also positive: Australia is still number one in the off-trade and value is growing; it was up 2 per cent in the 12 months to November 2017 (IRI report).

Ahead of the ADT in London, Wine Australia launched a new State of the Sector report which takes a novel approach by drawing on parallels between Australian wine and Australian music.

Clark said, “Both Australian wine and Australian music are unique expressions of a diverse Australian culture and landscape. Both are distinctly Australian while also universal. This new State of the Sector report explores the shared history of wine and music in Australia, their evolution and global appeal.”


New Managing Director announced for Woolworths’ beverage brand

Steve Donohue, current Director of Buying and Merchandising for Woolworths Supermarkets, has today been announced as the new Managing Director of Woolworths’ beverage brand, Endeavour Drinks.

Effective from April this year, Steve Donohue will replace current Endeavour Drinks Managing Director Martin Smith, who will retire at the end of the financial year.

Prior to joining Woolworths Supermarkets, Steve Donohue held a broad range of roles within the Woolworths Group drinks business, starting as a store manager in Dan Murphy’s when he was just 19 years old and progressing into senior Buying, Merchandising and Marketing roles in Dan Murphy’s, BWS and the broader drinks business.

Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO said; “We are pleased to announce Steve as the new Managing Director of Endeavour Drinks. Steve rejoins our drinks team after spending the last five years rebuilding our Buying and Merchandising capabilities, first with Countdown in New Zealand and more recently in his role with Woolworths Supermarkets in Australia.

“He’s been instrumental in delivering our Woolworths Supermarkets pricing and range strategy as well as transforming our supplier engagement program.”

Endeavour Drinks includes Australia’s leading retail liquor brands, Dan Murphy’s and BWS, as well as Cellarmasters, Langton’s and Pinnacle Drinks.

Brad Banducci added; “I would like to thank Martin Smith for his significant contribution to Endeavour Drinks. Martin and the Endeavour Drinks team have helped build the leading business we have today.”

Martin Smith will remain with Endeavour Drinks until 30th June, working with Steve Donohue as he transitions into his new role.

JV Company to capitalise on cannabis-derived beverage potential

Creso Pharma has formally launched its new joint venture company with LGC Capital and Baltic Beer Company to capitalise on the fast-growing cannabis and hemp-derived beverage markets.

The joint venture participants have already identified potential distribution partners around the world, including in Australia and New Zealand, and also plan to expand CLV’s portfolio into other alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages in time.

The joint venture company – CLV Frontier Brands Pty Ltd (“CLV”) – intends to develop and globally commercialise a bespoke portfolio of cannabis and hemp-derived alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages containing various ingredients, seeds, extracts and terpenes from hemp and cannabis plants.

The launch of CLV follows the announcement in November 2017 of a binding letter of intent between the three parties and the formation of the joint venture company.  The parties have now executed a formal binding joint venture agreement that more specifically outlines the rights and obligations of the parties.

Under the terms of the joint venture, both Creso and LGC will initially contribute €150,000 in start-up capital to CLV and Baltic Beer Company will contribute the equivalent sum by way of services to the company.

It is proposed that CLV will immediately start developing an initial premium four-beer range containing unique cannabis terpene mixes as well as other innovative ingredients.

These unique terpenes will carry the flavor and aroma of cannabis and will provide a sensual cannabis experience but the beverages will not contain any THC or CBD or any other cannabinoids.

CLV is targeting to ship the first test batch of an initial four beer range containing cannabis-derived terpenes in April/May 2018, with commercial sales aimed to commence in the following calendar quarter.

CLV will establish a pilot state-of-the-art R&D brewery facility in Tallinn, Estonia which will be dedicated to work on innovative recipes and to develop proprietary know-how and IP which will be registered by the JV.


Remedy Kombucha launches new cherry plum flavour

Australian kombucha brand, Remedy, has launched a new flavour, Cherry Plum, as the latest move in their mission to give retail drinks fridges a makeover and offer consumers more real, healthy options.

The new flavour pairs luscious sweet red cherry and native Aussie Kakadu plum to craft a live cultured, naturally low in sugar drink that is fruity, floral, and refreshing.

Remedy Kombucha is made following a traditional fermenting process, involving sweet tea and a live culture known as SCOBY (symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast).

Like its siblings in the Remedy range, the new flavour naturally contains no sugar, backed by an official tick of approval from I Quit Sugar. It is also packed with live cultures and organic acids (aka short chain fatty acids) that are good for gut health and overall wellbeing.

Emmet Condon, Co-founder of Remedy Kombucha, says the company is obsessed with making real, traditional, healthy drinks more accessible to consumers.

“We’re really proud to make drinks that are not only really healthy but also really tasty,” Emmet said.

“New flavours not only excite our existing loyal Remedy drinkers, but they also offer a way to reach new consumers. We find trial is the best way to convert consumers into kombucha drinkers.

“We want as many people as possible to be able to enjoy a Remedy as an alternative to all the sugary and fake-healthy drinks out there. Our drinks are healthy not only because they are naturally free from sugar, but also because they are full of goodness,” he said.

“We are also super excited to be using a native Australian ingredient with Kakadu plum. We’ve been wanting to add native ingredients into the mix since we started out.”

Cherry Plum is 100 per cent certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, fructose-free, and paleo friendly.


Tooheys New goes retro with classic beer can

Tooheys New has brought back its iconic 30-pack of classic cans for a limited time only.

Tooheys New has long been the chosen beer with mates and has shared some damn beautiful moments over the years with you all, from the footy sheds to fishing trips, buck nights to baby showers, and everything that’s good in between.

Tom Bills at Tooheys said the cans will only be available for a limited time and explains the idea behind the classic edition design.

“We reckon they’re a big old ‘cheers’ and a nod to the values of our drinkers back in the day, you know the kind – mateship, honesty and loyalty – cracking values that continue to remain important to Aussies today,” said Bills.

Available at all good beer retailers in NSW, these limited edition cans are sure to sell themselves and won’t be around for long.

Frerejean Frères Champagnes

Noble Spirits has added a premium brand to its portfolio – Frerejean Frères Champagnes.

The Frerejean-Taittinger brothers grew up with love and respect for the Champagne tradition and were surrounded by prestigious Champagne makers. They built their own Maison de Champagne, an independent house, as a tribute to their passion for the historical terroir. Today, Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe are fulfilling their vision of producing cuvées in the manner of great wines.

In the quest of authenticity and purity, Frerejean Frères only work with grape variety from Premier Cru coming from the famous Côte des Blancs (9% of the best vines in Champagne). The Frerejean Frères Premier Cru Champagnes are aged for a minimum of five years in the cellar.

Frerejean Frères is having great success overseas, with their Champagne available in 2 and 3 Michelin Star venues such as The Dorchester in London, Coi Restaurant in San Francisco, Le Grand Véfour in Paris and Bocuse in Lyon.

Frerejean Frères are breaking the codes, it is not just a drink for ‘special occasions’, but a refined drink for summer and the festive season.

Noble Spirits has brought the full range of this premium brand here for the Australian consumer. This includes the Brut Premier Cru, which is characterised by the tastes of crystallised fruits, spices and honey, and made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The delicate and satin textured Blanc de Blancs, which is made from Chardonnay of different years; and finally Cuvée des Hussards, a powerful gastronomy champagne that is well supported by a creamy and delicate foam, with scents of candied fruits and saffron spice. This range has already been picked up by premium independent bottles shops and prestigious restaurants across Australia.

Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, one of the three owners, will be visiting Australia in November. He will be running masterclasses and sharing his knowledge of Champagne and Frerejean Frères. This is an exciting time for Noble Spirits and the Champagne world in Australia.

Magners voted best cider in Australia

Magners Original Apple has been voted Australia’s best cider, winning ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. As well as the top honour, Magners Original Apple also won Best New World Cider and Best International Cider.

This year saw the largest ever field of entries for these prestigious awards, with 250 local and international ciders taking part. Honoured at a gala dinner in Melbourne, the ‘Best in Show’ award came despite stiff competition from a host of new craft entrants to the fast-emerging cider category.

In recognition, the judges said that Magners Original Apple, which is made by C&C Group, was awarded the top prize because “it displayed a perfect balance of sugar, tannin and overall complexity combined with toasty, savoury, creamy notes – the ‘wow’ factor that helped this product rise to the top”.

Jason Ash, Chief Marketing Officer, C&C Group plc, commented: “We’re delighted to win ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. This is international recognition for a cider that proudly adheres to the traditional methods employed since it was founded in 1935. Magners is made using 17 varieties of apples, many grown amongst our 150 acres of orchards and delivered directly to the cidery in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

To win such a prestigious award is a great tribute to the Magners team, their dedication and passion for preserving the essence and provenance of the brand, and giving us such a complex yet beautifully balanced and refreshing flavour to enjoy.

Australia is an integral international market for the Group, with sustained strong growth recorded in the last year. We’re excited with the prospects of our distribution agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil, with whom we share this great success”.

With the recent packaging update, Magners also has an exciting and appealing new look to match the quality of the cider itself. Magners Cider is distributed in Australia exclusively for C&C by Coca-Cola Amatil, including Magners Original (330ml and 568ml bottles and draught), Magners Pear (568ml bottles) and Magners Blonde (330ml).



New alkaline water launches

Introducing Aqualove, a new alkaline and eco-friendly water product to meet the growing demand for products that assist with neutralising the body’s PH balance.

Home-grown in the iconic Blue Mountains, Aqualove is infused with alkaline minerals enhances an active lifestyle.

With alkaline water rapidly flourishing in the USA, Sydney’s Ricky Herbert and Garrett Jandegian spent months researching and developing Aqualove to meet the local burgeoning interest for an easily accessible alkaline water with a great taste profile.

Ricky Herbert, Drinkpreneur and Director at Aqualove said, “we noticed an evolution of traditional water over in the States, and set out to create a superior alkaline drink, enriched with mineral content to ensure it contains an alkalinity of 9-10 on the pH scale.”

The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline something is and ranges from 0 to 14, with 0 being highly acidic and 14 being highly alkaline. For optimum health, our bodies need to maintain a good level of alkalinity of between 7.2 and 7.6 pH

“We’ve noticed a clear shift in consumer demand towards healthier, lower calorie categories and wanted to create a fun, innovative and sustainable product in line with our lifestyle that we believe will resonate with our consumers,” said Herbert.

The rainbow branding reminiscent of the pH scale, offers a unique and creative point of difference to other alkaline products on the market and connects with consumers in a way that reflects today’s social media driven culture.

“We wanted to create a thirst for a product that positively impacts the body, mind and planet, with a chic design that inspires consumers to view it as an accessory that forms part of their image,” said Herbert.

The sleek bottle design is a nod to innovation and ergonomics – Aqualove’s biosphere packaging technology increases the biodegradation of the bottles to just five years, playing to strengthening human interest in environmentally friendly products.


Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival to showcase regional brewers

The inaugural Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival will debut on the 25th November at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, showcasing over 160 beers and ciders from  Australia and New Zealand.

The Sunshine Coast festival joins the likes of established regional beer festivals such as The Great Australia Beer Festival (Geelong & Albury) and Bitter & Twisted (Maitland) and will focus on celebrating independent beers from across Australia, with 26 passionate regional brewers – including nine local Sunshine Coast brewers – showcasing their beers and cider.

In recent years, the Sunshine Coast has developed a strong network of quality craft beer producers, with brewers such as Moffat Beach Brewery and Brouhaha winning national acclaim for their frothies.

Festival Director, Tanya Taber, said that the Sunshine Coast’s ‘naturally refreshing’ image and renowned agricultural produce were inspirations for staging the first craft beer and cider festival on the Sunshine Coast.

“Our local crafters in the Sunshine Coast are already attracting national attention, and we’re extremely excited to include them with other outstanding independent brewers from all over Australia,” said Mrs Taber.

“It makes it the perfect time to introduce a Craft Beer and Cider Festival to the region. We have had phenomenal interest from brewers to participate and I’m sure that both Sunshine Coast locals and those visiting the region for the event will be pleased to taste such a rich variety of quality brews on the day.”

The Festival will be a relaxed, family friendly event including live music all day, competitions, food pairing demonstrations, meet the brewer sessions, a roving circus, sideshow alley and plenty of activities to keep the children entertained.