By Melissa Keogh
Renowned South Australian jam and condiments maker Beerenberg is celebrating the official completion of its $14m factory and headquarters at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
Sixth-generation family member and managing director Anthony Paech has fired up the new bottling line, processing hundreds of bottles of the food producer’s popular tomato sauce.
The multi-staged redevelopment, which began in 2015, will see the longstanding family company’s production capacity double, securing its long-term future in the country’s oldest surviving German settlement.
The 6500sqm head office expansion includes state-of-the-art factory equipment, allowing 15 tonnes of product (60,000 bottles) to be processed per shift.
Anthony says the expansion provides a platform for major growth and stability for Beerenberg’s future.
It currently employs 85 people.
“This is a state-of-art design which enables higher control over the cooking and bottling of product, allowing us to craft an even higher quality of product in larger volumes,” says Anthony, whose family has been working on the Hahndorf land since 1839.
“There is also natural light and a climate controlled modern environment for staff, with the latest safety features.
“Finally, there is a room for expansion which we have needed for some time.”
The facility will be officially opened today (June 5) by South Australian Governor Hieu Van Le.
The project was worked on by a number of local businesses, including Moto Projects, Sarah Constructions, McMahon Services, Michael Watson Architects, and Swanbury Penglase.
“We sought to find a community-friendly approach to expand our Adelaide Hills base into an ultra-modern facility, securing its future in the Hills and gearing it for further international growth,” Anthony says.
Beerenberg is also a ‘pick-your-own’ strawberry farm and this summer it attracted more than 80,000 people.
Beerenberg – which means ‘Berry Hill’ in German – has more than 90 products in its range, including jams, sweet and savoury sauces and condiments.
The products are available in 24 countries, on major airlines and in more than 300 hotels worldwide.
The business is run by the three Paech siblings, Anthony, Robert, who is farm manager, and Sally who is marketing manager.
Their late father Grant Peach began selling strawberries from a roadside stall in 1971 after the first strawberry patch was planted near the family home.
In 1975, Grant and wife Carol launched the pick-your-own strawberries concept which quickly became a thriving tourist destination before new products, including chutney and pickled onions, were added.
In 1980 the factory and shop were built and five years’ later a contract was secured with airline Qantas to serve mini Beerenberg jams to customers.
As the years rolled on the first export deals were made and the brand continued to grow until 2013 when it underwent a major overhaul, leading to a boost in national sales.
Grant Paech died in 2011 after a long illness and is remembered as a pioneer and innovator in the state’s food industry.
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