Aussie distillery and brewery receive more than $780,000 from Coles Nurture Fund

To mark World Environment Day, Coles Group announced today it has awarded grants of up to $500,000 to nine small and medium sized businesses from across the country to implement plans to drive sustainability and innovation.

The latest grants bring the total financial support awarded through the Coles Nurture Fund to more than $36 million across 108 businesses since the funding initiative was established in 2015.

Since 2020, Caloundra-based Indigenous family-owned business Beachtree Distilling Co. has crafted delicious smallbatch gin, vodka and liqueurs with native-Australian ingredients and has been awarded $380,000 for its Re-spirits project, which aims to scale up their innovative Re-spirits project, transforming local and Indigenous waste from jam, spreads and cheese production into flavourful spirits.

Beachtree Distilling Co. co-founder Kirra Daley said the Re-spirits program would have a significant impact on her business and many other local farms.

“The ethos of Beachtree Distilling Co. and our bush-to-bottle drinks are rooted in my childhood, raised on Bundjalung Country where I was taught to respect and understand land and country,” she said.

“We plan on using our grant to acquire equipment to repurpose what other local businesses consider waste to create our delicious spirits, with the aim to create a more circular economy and reduce waste.

“As a small business, we have experienced many challenges over the years which is why we are so grateful for the Coles Nurture Fund, as it will provided us with the space and resources to build our business while continuing to support our local community.”

Image: Coles Group/Rocky Ridge Brewing Co.

Located in Busselton, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. is a craft brewery which has been awarded $400,000 towards its project to become the first Net Zero Certified Sustainable Brewery in the Australian and Asia Pacific region.

Founded on the idea that breweries weren’t using enough local ingredients despite having access to amazing local suppliers, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. co-founder Hamish Coates said the Coles Nurture Fund will help them to achieve their goals to reduce their environmental impact, focus on local sourcing, and progress on their journey to Net Zero.

“Our brewery operates off-grid using solar and batteries and the Coles Nurture Fund will allow us to upgrade these facilities to support our growth and install a wastewater reuse system, reducing the water consumption by 28 per cent,” said Coates.

“We are farmers in the south-west, so we know water is a precious resource and it is our responsibility to use less and do the right thing.

“The whole team was in a workshop together when we got the call that we had been awarded the Coles Nurture Fund and it was more than an opportunity to crack a celebratory beer — it was confirmation from a business like Coles that we are doing the right thing when it comes to the environment.”

Coles Group CCO Anna Croft said the Round 12 recipients were chosen for their industryleading and high-impact projects, that will achieve impressive sustainability goals to reduce waste, enhance animal welfare, and reduce their carbon footprint.

“We are proud to be able to award more than $3.7 million to nine Aussie small and medium sized businesses — who represent a wide range of industries including the drinks sector — as part of the latest round of the Coles Nurture Fund,” said Croft.

“I am excited to watch all of the recipients bring to life their incredible ideas in their respective fields – demonstrating they are leading the way when it comes to innovation and sustainability.”

Coles Ambassador and Nurture Fund judging panelist Curtis Stone said this year’s nine recipients were an impressive example of Aussie businesses who are driving positive change across a diverse range of industries.

“I am blown away by the wonderful list of applicants for Coles Nurture Fund for Round 12, and the nine successful businesses are extremely worthy recipients,” said Stone.

“It’s so fulfilling to know Coles will be granting close to $3.7 million to assist these amazing suppliers – to help them to make changes that drive sustainability and reduce emissions and waste at a time when many businesses are feeling the pinch.”

Other Nurture Fund recipients awarded grants in Round 12 include:

  • Bulla Mushrooms in Victoria will use a grant of $490,000 to create a zero-waste mushroom facility which will capture excess mushrooms grown on the farm and turn them into dehydrated high-quality products that would otherwise be imported from overseas. The project will also enable this small business to install a solar and small-scale wind farm to power the facility, helping to reduce emissions.
  • White Cloud Farms in Victoria will use a grant of $400,000 to create a blueberry growing system that is sustainable for both the crop and the land. By utilising a closed loop water supply, superior cropping microclimates, and modified atmosphere storage, this will extend the season of premium Eureka blueberries which are exclusive to Coles.
  • Emu Hill Pastoral in Western Australia will use a grant of $500,000 to create a highly innovative, sustainable and resilient water system by desalinating underground water. The water will be processed through a solar powered water treatment plant complementing a dam built with evaporation minimisation strategies to drive production growth in a beef cattle feedlot.
  • Hillcroft Farms in Western Australia will use a grant of $500,000 to construct a 600kW ground molded solar farm next to its feed mill and piggery site to provide energy to the only on-farm piggery feed mill. The electricity generated will fully power the feed mill and piggery during daylight hours. This will be the largest solar installation on a piggery site in Australia which will complement a sustainable pig production system.

Australian small businesses are encouraged to apply for the 13th round of the Coles Nurture Fund via the website when applications open again in January 2025

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