By Lauren Ferrone
In South Australia’s hot Summer, nothing quenches the heat quite like a refreshing cider. While there’s a stack of amazing craft ciders being produced in SA, there’s also plenty of ciders on the market using Victorian apples. In a move set to shake up the market, South Australian companies Lenswood Apples and Rivercorp Land & Water will supply global beverage company Lion with 3.5 million litres of apple and pear juice annually in a new deal to boost the State’s horticulture industry.
The partnership means Lion will shift from mostly Victorian apples to using locally grown South Australian apples in their ciders.
The juice will be supplied by Monarto juice processor Joint Venture Juicing (JVJ) Co, a partnership between major Riverland apple grower Rivercorp Land & Water Limited and the Lenswood Cold Stores Cooperative Society.
“This is a massive turning point for our company; this will see us double our staff,” says JVJ Co’s CEO, Fergus McLachlan.
Despite South Australia’s apple industry undergoing significant challenges, Fergus says the ability to create a profitable market for its second grade fruit by juicing has offered a “genuine buffer for our business”.
Lenswood Apples is the largest packer and marketer of apples in South Australia and Rivercorp one of the State’s largest growers.
The deal with Lion follows a $9.1 million grant Rivercorp received through the Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (3IP), a joint initiative of the State and Federal Government.
The grant was used to build a new juicing and storage facility and establish improved shade netting across part of the company’s Riverland orchards.
3IP is funded as part of the $265 million South Australian River Murray Sustainability program, which is funded by the Federal Government and delivered by PIRSA over six years to mid-2019.
“The South Australian River Murray Sustainability program has helped us secure a new sustainable income source, but more importantly the long-term flow-on effects in terms of employment and economic spin-offs for local businesses, schools, supermarkets and the wider industry are immense,” Fergus says.
Lion SA has an onsite cidery at Port Road which produces ciders Australia-wide. Products include: James Squire Orchard Crush Apple / Pear ciders; Kirin Apple / Pear ciders; and 5 Seed ciders; just to name a few.