Asahi Beverages ditches imported berries in push to localize raw material supply chains 

AUSTRALIA – Asahi Beverages, one of the leading beverage companies in Australia and New Zealand, has begun using locally sourced Australian raspberries in a range of its products. 

The company had previously imported the berries for these products from Poland, some 13, 851 kilometers away from the nearest port in Australia. 

Local sourcing however shortens this supply chain, enhances the reliability of material supply and also bolsters Asahi’s commitment to support Australian farmers.  

Asahi Beverages general manager Procurement, Dave Baxter said the switch to Tasmanian raspberries was because of their quality, their more reliable supply, and Asahi’s commitment to supporting Australian farmers. 

“We know the best beverages are made with the best raw ingredients – and it really doesn’t get much better than being able to source fresh, world-class produce while supporting local farmers,” Baxter said. 

To kickstart the project, Asahi has purchased 50,000 kg of Tasmanian berries from local grower Westerway Raspberry Farm. 

The berries will be processed at the Cascade Brewery in Hobart and will be either used locally for Mercury Cider or sent to the Australian mainland for use in cordials, juices and fruit drinks. 

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“This deal will enable us to plant more fruit, employ more people and give greater security and certainty to those Tasmanians we already employ,” said Westerway Raspberry Farm owner Richard Clark. 

“By supplying our fruit to a local quality processor at Cascade, it enables us to showcase our berries in the best possible light.” 

Mercury Cider, Spring Valley, Cottee’s and Pop Tops beverages featuring Tasmanian raspberries will start gradually hitting shelves later this year, the beverage maker said. 

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A one-year experience with barley 

Last year, Asahi restructured its barley supply chain, removing bulk handlers from the process and allowing brewers to work directly with growers. 

According to Asahi executives, the transition meant that their brewing team can now track the barley directly from farms while ensuring farmers get additional payments that otherwise would have gone to the bulk handlers.  

“This allows Asahi to secure a direct supply chain for one of our most important ingredients and allows us to trace how the barley will perform,” said Yatala’s Brewing Manager Garry Menz. 

The deal includes monitoring of agricultural inputs such as water usage to help Asahi Beverages achieve its sustainability targets.     

“We can monitor farming processes and our long-term commitment gives each grower the confidence and financial security to invest in new technology and make improvements in farming sustainability and efficiency.” 

With consumers demanding companies to increase their local sourcing of key ingredients, the shift by Asahi Beverages could not be timelier. 

Mr Menz said “It’s the heart and soul of beer. Every time you twist the cap on a VB, we want Australians to think of growers like Andrew and raise a glass to all the Aussie barley farmers.” 

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