A new mobile bottling and labelling business has opened in northern New South Wales servicing breweries in the region and up in south-east Queensland.
Owned by David Eldridge, The Bottling Co is the second mobile bottling and labelling business to launch in Australia.
Campbell and Kelly ran the owner-operator business until about 12 months ago when they realised that neither of them had enough time to focus on the company.
Kelly told Brews News that because he was concentrating on East Coast Canning and Campbell on other work commitments, neither could spare the time needed to operate See You Next Brew Day.
“It came down to predominantly a staffing issue,” he explained.
“Operating a canning or bottling line is a technical job and one that requires highly-skilled and trained operators.
“It is hard to attract the skilled staff you need to operate the line when you’re only offering them part-time work.”
After investing in a US-manufactured, new-model mobile bottling line from Martin Robotics, Campbell and Kelly sold the business.
They found a buyer after Eldridge moved from Darwin to northern New South Wales in early 2018. Having run his own mobile mechanic business for more than 13 years running – repairing cars, trucks and earth-moving and farm machinery – making the switch to bottling-line manufacturing wasn’t a stretch for Eldridge.
Eldridge said that while it’s early days for The Bottling Co, the Martin Robotics machine remains the first and only mobile bottling line in Australia, which makes both the machine and the business unique.
The US machine is capable of bottling two thousand 330ml bottles per hour. It can fill bottles between 210 and 750mls. Eldridge said that while prices will vary depending on volume, he estimates that a 330ml labelled bottle will cost about 45 cents.
Eldridge said that after speaking to over 250 beer drinkers, he is convinced there is still a strong demand for bottled beer.
“A lot of people prefer glass… Glass is the best thing for a consumer to drink from,” he said.
Eldridge said that there has been a lot of interest from brewers regarding long necks.
“There are a lot of these places just doing cans only but they are interested in using me for long necks so that they have got a bit of a range,” he explained.
“[Brewers] seem to be telling me that there are people asking for long necks but they aren’t producing that just yet.”
Like Eldridge, Kelly said that he also believes that there is a place for glass in the market and that some brewers believe that too.