The Blue Mountains has many strengths and an emerging one is the development of a number of specialist beverage businesses.
Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise recently organised a meeting of beverage producers in the Blue Mountains. Beer brewers, Kombucha fermenters, cider makers, coffee roasters, wine makers and specialist syrup producers met to discuss how working together could have mutual benefit for all.
This is a great example of the innovative businesses already here in the Mountains and is exactly the type of thing we are focused on at BMEE. It takes passionate entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and we can assist by connecting them and facilitating conversations that lead to them collaborating. Each of these businesses are run by people who are passionate about the area and also about their product. All agreed that they would like to meet again and many who were unable to attend are booked in for the next meeting.
These businesses sell their product in a range of ways including cellar door, online, wholesale or at markets and have found many customers from the local community. But these products and venues also provide enormous opportunity for growth by tapping into the visitor economy. With more than 4 million visitors per year to the region, Destination NSW reports that "eat out, dine at a restaurant or café" was the most popular activity undertaken by visitors. This is even higher than "bushwalking or rainforest walks" or "visit national parks or state parks".
We all know that eating out goes hand in hand with a great drink and if visitors combine a meal with a well-crafted, uniquely local beverage then it will make their visit to our amazing region even more memorable.
If we can get behind these local producers and have them succeed it goes a long way to achieving our goal of helping create more local employment. In addition, we are already seeing that success breeds success and raising the profile of a group like this will attract more investment in the region by operators of similar businesses. The Blue Mountains just gets better and better.
If you are operating or planning to establish a specialist beverage business, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bernard Fehon OAM is CEO of Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise.