Local brewer receives big cheers for national business success
The desire by three executives of a large Australian beer company to change their lives and the country’s brewing industry has led to Stone & Wood Brewing Company being named tonight the Regional Award winner at the 2014 Telstra Australian Business Awards.
Other winners of the national Awards attended by Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey were South Australian electronics manufacturer REDARC, which was named Telstra Australian Business of the Year; innovative Northern Territory pharmacy Country Wellness Pharmacy; trailblazing Tasmanian whisky distiller Lark Distillery; and experiential hair and wellness salon URBAN ESCAPE.
Stone & Wood, established in 2008 by Jamie Cook, Ross Jurisich and Brad Rogers as a traditional village brewery with a contemporary business model, has experienced almost 100 percent growth in turnover in each of the past four years.
It gained recognition at local and international awards including a silver at the 2012 World Beer Cup and has grown its distribution channels to include major retailers Coles and Woolworths, through keeping to its ethos of “taking things slow and keeping it simple.”
The company, whose beers include Pacific Ale, Stone & Wood Lager, Jasper Ale and limited edition beers such as Cloud Catcher, Stone Beer and Garden Ale, attributes its success to sticking to the tradition of the brewer not only delivering fresh and high quality beer but also supporting the community it operates in.
In addition to its commitment to first and foremost meet the demands of its local community pubs, clubs and bottleshops – which at times has meant it has been unable to meet demand of the national retailers – Stone & Wood has established Ingrained, a program that supports local grassroots causes committed to creating sustainable and social outcomes.
As part of the program, Stone & Wood donates a Karma Keg to local pubs, clubs and other venues where people pay whatever they like for the beer until it runs out with all the proceeds going into a fund that then makes donations to local groups, charities and people in need.
Jamie Cook said winning the Regional Business Award provided the 24 members of the Stone & Wood team with acknowledgement that they were heading in the right direction and were part of a strongly performing business that gave the local community a sense of pride.
“We believe it is critical to support our communities, including our employees, suppliers, customers, drinkers and residents of NSW’s North Coast and South-Eastern Queensland and continue to look for ways of adding further value to them. With this Award, we hope to highlight that this provides a model for other businesses to learn from,” Mr Cook said.
Will Irving, Group Managing Director of Telstra Business and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, said the 2014 national winners excelled in their ability to be brilliantly different and change industries by either creating new businesses or thinking about old business models in new ways.
“Stone & Wood Brewing Company has taken the traditional brewing model and overlaid it with new thinking to create a strong brand and generate demand that has led to the construction of a larger and more modern brewing facility in Murwillumbah,” Mr Irving said.
“This is a great example of where passion has driven a business in a way that the pursuit of profit alone could never match. The judges were particularly impressed in the way the team at Stone & Wood have developed a sustainable vision to ensure that the passion and dream generates significant growth, profitability and brand longevity so as to maintain their “X factor” well into the future.”
The winners of the 2014 Telstra Australian Business Awards are:
Country Wellness Pharmacy – Winnellie, NT
In 2012 Country Wellness Pharmacy established Save Mart Pharmacy in the Winnellie Shopping Centre with a desire to innovate in health care services. The Malay-Chinese owners merged traditional medication dispensing with health services such as counselling and education seminars, online medical consultations and a web-based medication management system for an aged care facility. Judges said the business demonstrated a new pharmacy business model that was about health and wellness not simply retailing pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The owners said they “never wanted to be just an average pharmacy” and they have shown excellent use of technology to develop a unique selling proposition.
Micro Business Award
URBAN ESCAPE – Prahran, Victoria
URBAN ESCAPE is more than just a hair salon. It’s a high-end, holistically focused hair and wellness retreat that was named winner of the 2014 Australian Customer Service Achiever Award for Hairdressing. Craig Withers built his dream salon from renewable resources and recycled materials and uses products free of synthetic ingredients or petrochemicals. Judges praised the owner’s passion for his staff, his customers and the environment, adding that he believes the customer is “the star.” They said the business was scalable and would change the perception of what some people consider to be a cottage industry.
Small Business Award
Lark Distillery – Hobart, Tasmania
Recognising Tasmania is blessed with an abundance of rich barley fields, highland peat bogs and the perfect climate to produce malt whisky, Bill and Lyn Lark launched a boutique distillery in 1992. Lark Distillery was the first licensed distillery to open in Tasmania since 1839. Lark Distillery was one of the first companies to export Australian malt whisky into the US and its product has won a host of prestigious awards. Judges said Lark Distillery was a quintessential small family business success story that has become an international winner. Its focus on quality and authentic product has put Australia on the world whisky map and Lark has been instrumental to the founding of the Australian whisky distilling industry.
Medium Business Award
REDARC – Lonsdale, South Australia
South Australian electronic components manufacturer REDARC has developed a range of electronic accessories, power sources and battery management systems that it sells to local and international customers in the automotive, trucking, mining, agriculture, recreational and emergency vehicle industries. The judges said REDARC had a huge pipeline of ideas that turned into a stream of product development driving its growth. They described the business as a high quality manufacturer that made a high investment in R&D and staff training, and was a financial success with impressive durability and robustness.
Stone & Wood Brewing Company – Byron Bay, New South Wales
Telstra Australian Business of the Year
REDARC – Lonsdale, South Australia
More than $800,000 in prizes will be shared by winners of the 2014 state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards – a program that has celebrated Australian small and medium business since 1992. For more information about the Award winners or to nominate for the 2015 Telstra Australian Business Awards, visit www.telstrabusinessawards.com.