AFTER a troubled decade in multi-national ownership, Tasmania’s favourite fruit juice syrups are now in the hands of a Derwent Valley family.
The Clark family of Westerway last week announced that it had been granted the original recipe for Tasmanian-made blackcurrant and raspberry syrups and would be marketing these under the Westerway Farms brand.
“We have launched our own Westerway Farms range of traditional Tasmanian blackcurrant and raspberry syrups to take the place of Cascade syrups [which] are no longer made,” Richard Clark said. “When the original line was discontinued, Coca Cola generously gave us the original recipe, so this drop is as close as we could get to that uniquely refreshing taste we know you all love.”
“Tasmanians have been drinking traditional blackcurrant juice since 1886 when Cascade Brewery began making syrups from locally-grown fruit. It’s a local tradition but Tasmanians have found it increasingly harder to find,” he said.
Located in long-established fruit growing country in the Derwent Valley, Westerway Berry Farm has been growing blackcurrants for Cascade Ultra-C for more than 30 years. Now, with the assistance of Amatil and Juicy Isle, the farm has launched its own brand.
Coca Cola Amatil Group managing director Alison Watkins said she had been approached by the Clark family to consider returning the brand to Tasmania in the event the Cascade product was discontinued. “This was a unique request, but we were experiencing declining sales and challenges with the supply chain for this product, so the team worked with the Clark family to transition production and sales of a very similar product to Westerway Farms,” Ms Watkins said. “I am delighted that Tasmanians will still be able to buy their favourite syrups which are now being produced locally.”
Mr Clark said Coca Cola Amatil – owner of the Cascade juices brand – had been very supportive during the transition. “They have been fantastic, helping us with the traditional recipe, label design and putting us in contact with customers and retailers whose shelves needed to be restocked with Tasmanian fruit syrups,” he said. “And just as amazing was Juicy Isle’s willingness and speed to make and then distribute our new product.”
|Generations of Tasmanians have enjoyed blackcurrant juice
made from fruit grown in the Derwent Valley.
“Our family has been growing fruit for 30 years and we are well-known locally as the suppliers to Cascade Ultra-C and Raspberry syrups and have been proud to be part of the syrups’ history. We have received countless requests and questions from passionate Tasmanian consumers over many years and we are now delighted to confirm where they can find their favourite syrups.”
The Westerway Farms syrups will be produced by Juicy Isle, which has had a long association with Westerway Farms, having sourced its produce for use in many of its own fruit juices and drinks. “We were excited by the prospect of working directly with the Clark family to ensure the traditional style syrups remain available to Tasmanian consumers and proud that they will be made here in our Cambridge facility,” spokesman Paul Mealor said. “It’s great to see Tasmanian business supporting each other and supporting Tasmanian consumers and retailers.”
Mr Clark said Westerway Farms blackcurrant and raspberry syrups contained 45% and 31% Tasmanian fruit respectively. He said this was the highest fruit content of any blackcurrant syrup on shelf, while the raspberry syrup was the only product of its kind to use real fruit as competitors used artificial colours and flavours.
The new brand has the traditional look of Cascade syrups from 10 years ago and will initially be sold locally in IGA stores. Westerway Farms is working with other retailers in Tasmania to offer the products, and has plans to sell on the mainland soon. Mr Clark suggests that customers who cannot find the new syrups on the shelves of their favourite shop should ask them to contact Juicy Isle to organise a supply. The Westerway Farm syrups are also available nationally via the Dan Murphys website, for $5.75 a bottle or $46 for a case of eight bottles.