Home' Grower : May 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- May 2012
as a way to keep competitive, pre-
ferring to focus his energies on
growing the best quality fruit pos-
sible at a cost-effective scale.
Away from the traditional apple
orchard strongholds in the
Adelaide Hills and Riverland,
Michelle and Chris McColl are
trying a different strategy. They
run a 5ha orchard on the
Limestone Coast, where they
grow a mix of organic produce.
They are not familiar with APAL's
package proposal, but do worry
about fire blight risk to their crops
from overseas imports.
Unlike Mr Vickers, they value-
add through juice and dry fr uit
products although they think
there is an insufficient premium
paid to justify additional costs
incurred by growing organically.
"People need to value real food
more and be prepared to pay for it
so small-scale farmers can earn a
reasonable living," Ms McColl said.
Amidst all the doom and gloom,
there is one shining light for the
local apple industry - the surging
popularity of cider.
Mr Cramond says the Apple and
Pear Association of South Australia
has witnessed a significant upsurge
in local cider production.
"A solid processing base is
always desirable for the industry,"
"It provides a home for lower-
quality fruit that might have oth-
er wise found its way into the the
fresh market in direct competition
with export-quality fruit. We hope
Wholesale prices at risk
Glut follows big winter rains
Fair cost structures sought
AT a time when the apple industry is
struggling to attract young people, 32-year-old
Tim Vickers is hoping to become the fifth-
generation family owner of Aberdeen Orchards
He wants to continue the family business,
and enjoys the challenges of outdoor work.
His father John is doing what he can to
prepare the orchard for a prosperous future
under Tim, and recently invested in an
environmental overhead net for a third of the
26-hectare plantation at a cost of $40,000-
$50,000 a hectare to keep it competitive.
Tim says the support offered by agricultural
bureaus and cooperatives has helped him
maintain interest in apples.
"The local ag bureau has been good
supporters of the young guys in the district,"
"They have meetings and involve you,
asking about your interests and taking you to
other areas, even over to Victoria to get the
He thinks the industry needs to raise its
profile and attract young people studying at
university and TAFE but does not
underestimate this challenge.
"It's tough with mines and stuff out there.
People want adventures and some reckon
apples are too repetitive," he said.
Cider finds a place in the sun
By JULIE-ANN SPRAGUE
A LITTLE more than a year ago,
former auditor Charlie
Ostaszewski told his family he
was leaving London to make
apple cider with a New South
The 29-year-old's family thought
it was a strange career move but
the decision was based on sound
research - cider sales doubled in
Australia in the last quarter of
last year, from a year earlier, even
though they make up just 2 per
cent of all alcohol sales.
In the UK, where cider is seen
by many young people as a less
bloating alternative to beer, the
drink has about 13pc of the
There are 300 cider brands in
the UK compared with 118 in
Australia, up from 52 brands in
While beer sales slumped 4pc
year, cider sales jumped 40pc to
become the fastest-growing
category in the alcohol market.
The race is on to gain a piece of
the expanding market as
consumers become more
prepared to experiment with
different kinds of food and drink.
"Twenty years ago, you would
probably be a beer drinker, a
wine drinker or a spirits drinker,"
Lion brand director Jon
"Now the same consumer will
drink different products
depending on the occasion and
will choose between a much
broader range of brands. This
allowed a trusted brand like
Tooheys to break out of its
traditional category and innovate
Lion's Tooheys 5 Seeds,
launched in 2009, is now the
second biggest cider brand in
Australia and has 12.4pc of the
Illustrating the fragmentation of
Cider sales double-up
118 brands in Australia
Tim Vickers is successfully continuing the business his father
John set up at Lenswood.
the cider market is Heineken-
owned Strongbow, the nation's
biggest-selling cider which now
has about 40pc market share,
about half of what it used to.
Carlton United Brewers' cider
group marketing manager Clive
Coleman said sales had grown at
10pc a year for the past five
years. This summer they jumped
"It was like this past summer
was a real tipping point for
cider," Mr Coleman said.
"It's bang on trend. There is a
big trend towards unisex drinking
and there is a trend toward
lighter, more refreshing drinks."
CUB, the domestic beer and
cider arm of Foster's Group, plans
Former auditor turned cider maker Charlie Ostaszewski and The
Apple Thief business partner and grower David Purcell near
Mittagong where they brew their apple cider. Photo by LOUISE
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