South West producers awarded Agribusiness grants

Canned joy: Jeremy Good of the Cowaramup Brewing Company, which received over $72,000 in grant funding to invest in canning line and fermenting tank infrastructure. Photo: Elements Margaret River
Canned joy: Jeremy Good of the Cowaramup Brewing Company, which received over $72,000 in grant funding to invest in canning line and fermenting tank infrastructure. Photo: Elements Margaret River

The McGowan Government will provide $4.2 million to support an array of value-adding opportunities for regional food and beverage businesses that will grow jobs across the State.

Twenty-four food and beverage manufacturers and value-add processors across the State were announced last week as successful recipients under the Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund's second funding round.

A number of those producers and manufacturers are located in the South West, including the Cowaramup Brewing Company, which received over $72,000 in grant funding to invest in canning line and fermenting tank infrastructure.

"Cowaramup Brewing company is really excited to have obtained a DPIRD Grant in the Value Add Agribusiness Investment Fund 2020," said director Claire Parker.

"The funds allow us the capacity to buy our own canning facility along with another fermenter which will allow the brewery to significantly increase its capacity.

"The grant will facilitate the employment of 6 new staff in the areas of brewing, sales and marketing and front of house staff.

"During the COVID-19 shutdown we pivoted the business to canning with another local business - The Rolling Publican - who provide a mobile canning facility.

"It allowed us to have a trial run and see how the equipment we wanted to purchased performed. The purchase of our own canning equipment will significantly increase the profitability of canning for Cowaramup Brewing Company."

The grants are expected to generate a co-investment of $9.9 million and create an estimated 150 jobs in the regions.

Recipients from the South West include a Margaret River industrial hemp processing facility, the Margaret River Muesli Company, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co, Blind Corner Organic Winery, and Cowaramup's Western Meat Packers Group (WMPG).

WMPG welcomed the news of their $300,000 grant to help facilitate further processing of offal and other products at its Cowaramup abattoir operation as part of a $10 million expansion of integrated operations.

WMPG CEO Andrew Fuda said that investing in this new manufacturing capability would help fully maximise yields from each beef animal and open up new markets, resulting in at least 50 full time new jobs and a host of indirect opportunities for the company and the local community.

"We've identified strong demand from our existing customers in Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, plus we're optimistic we'll receive export license approval for China, a key target in our marketing strategy," he said.