Tasmanian cheese brand, Bruny Island Cheese Co, has been named the 2013 Telstra Australian Business of the Year.
The first Tasmanian business to win the award, Bruny Island Cheese Co was praised not only for the quality of its products, but for the role it plays in sustaining local agri-tourism and supporting dairy farmers in the island community South East of Hobart.
After working with specialist cheesemakers in Europe and Australia, Nick Haddow moved to Tasmania in 2001 to make cheese at Pyengana Dairy Company, before launching Bruny Island Cheese Co in 2003.
Haddow is an advocate and producer of raw milk cheese. "I am a traditionalist who recognises that great cheese was made for centuries before modern technology played a role and I believe passionately in the old way of making, maturing and marketing cheese," he said.
"For me cheesemaking is a pursuit of integrity, authenticity and flavour. There is no substitute for quality. We are only as good as the last batch of cheese we made."
The brand, which also won the Small Business Award at the Telstra Australian Business Awards in Sydney last night, sells on-site, online and through email marketing to its 8300-strong member Cheese Club.
Will Irving, group managing director of Telstra Business and Telstra Business Awards ambassador, said "Bruny Island Cheese Co. is a role model for artisan food businesses in the 21st Century. It has a total focus on quality, customer experience and engagement, both online and onsite, innovation from paddock to plate and care for suppliers, staff, the local community and the environment.
"The awards judges were impressed by its innovative business model – artisan traditions using local produce, manual techniques and craftsmanship yet employing the latest technology in packaging, marketing and sales to provide a ‘sticky' customer experience. It has a very strong commitment to engage other local artisan businesses to leverage the brand which also brings economic sustainability to many local businesses."