In recognition of World Environment Day on 5 June, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. and Beachtree Distilling Co. received $780,000 in grant funding from the Coles Nurture Fund to develop their sustainability initiatives.

Alongside Beechtree Distilling and Rocky Ridge Brewing, the Coles Nurture Fund awarded grants of up $500,000 to seven other small and medium sized businesses from across the country. Since its establishment in 2015, the fund has provided more than $36m to 108 businesses.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. is a craft brewery located in Busselton, and has been awarded $400,000 towards its project to become Net Zero Certified Sustainable. Co-Founder Hamish Coates started Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. with a focus on using local ingredients and suppliers, which he didn’t think was being done enough in the brewing industry. Coates said that the grant will help the brewery continue and expand on this vision.

“Our brewery operates off-grid using solar and batteries and the Coles Nurture Fund will allow us to upgrade these facilities to support our growth and install a wastewater reuse system, reducing the water consumption by 28 per cent. We are farmers in the south-west, so we know water is a precious resource and it is our responsibility to use less and do the right thing,” he said.

Rocky Ridge Brewing Co. believes that if it achieves Net Zero Certified Sustainable, it will be the first brewery to do so in Australia.

“The whole team was in a workshop together when we got the call that we had been awarded the Coles Nurture Fund and it was more than an opportunity to crack a celebratory beer. It was confirmation from a business like Coles that we are doing the right thing when it comes to the environment,” Coates added.

The other liquor industry grant recipient, Beachtree Distilling Co., is an Indigenous- and family-owned distillery located in Caloundra, Queensland, producing small batch gin, vodka, and liqueurs with native Australian ingredients. It has been awarded $380,000 to scale up its Re-spirits project, which utilises by-products from jam, spreads and cheeses for use in spirits.

Beachtree Distilling Co. Co-Founder Kirra Daley explained that sustainability is a core value for the business.

“The ethos of Beachtree Distilling Co. and our bush-to-bottle drinks are rooted in my childhood, raised on Bundjalung Country where I was taught to respect and understand land and country.

“We plan on using our grant to acquire equipment to repurpose what other local businesses consider waste to create our delicious spirits, with the aim to create a more circular economy and reduce waste,” she said.

Coles Group Chief Commercial Officer Anna Croft said the grant recipients were involved in highly impactful projects that will make significant steps towards industry sustainability.

“I am excited to watch all of the recipients bring to life their incredible ideas in their respective fields, demonstrating they are leading the way when it comes to innovation and sustainability,” she said.

Nurture Fund judging panelist Curtis Stone said the grant will help small businesses continue to make progress towards their sustainable goals, even during a difficult economic climate.

“It’s so fulfilling to know Coles will be granting close to $3.7m to assist these amazing suppliers to help them to make changes that drive sustainability and reduce emissions and waste at a time when many businesses are feeling the pinch.”

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