By James Atkinson

Adelaide Hills brand Houghton Cider has taken aim at the major players dominating the Australian liquor industry, as the fledgling brand seeks to educate consumers about its range of locally produced ciders.

O'Brien Beverages CEO, Brett Thorburn, told TheShout that the company has been producing the Houghton Cider brand for sale within the local Adelaide market for the last two years, and is now seeking national and international distribution.

While Australia's cider market is booming, Thorburn bemoaned the barriers to entry for smaller players, with bigger distributors looking to 'bleed' the company for an unrealistic share of takings, and 'supermarket pubs' that are set in their ways.

"ALH Hotels don't look after Australian producers full stop," he said.

"It's like talking to Telstra, you can never get hold of the people you want."

The Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group (ALH) is 75 percent owned by Woolworths.

Thorburn stressed that the company makes 'real cider from apples off trees' rather than Chinese concentrate, 'unlike some of our mainstream competitors'.

He also slammed the treatment of Australian fruit growers by the big supermarket chains, that have been locking orchards into long-term, low margin contracts 'regardless of economic climate or weather'.

"So hopefully as we grow, we will create a serious optional market for them."

Thorburn said the company has signed some small export deals for Hong Kong and China and is also talking to interested parties in the US, UK and India.

Houghton has four ciders in its range: Apple, Honey Apple, Pear and The Blackapple, which is infused with black malt extract.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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