Bundaberg Brewed Drinks
showcases what makes them strong for 50 years.
CLIFF Fleming is a humble man, unassuming and yet articulate and poised.
Traits that have served him well in business in Bundaberg for the past 50 years.
He has seen Bundaberg change during that time, from rural farmlands, predominantly producing sugar cane, into a diverse regional city that’s thriving on new business that extends beyond local markets.
His belief in brewing with quality ingredients from local producers to produce the now famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer has identified him as one of the new pioneers of business in the region.
Cliff and his father bought the already established soft drink company in 1968 and operated as Electra Breweries as a Tarax franchise, then a little later, a Schweppes franchise.
Many soft drink companies early on stopped the manufacture of fermented products in favour of producing essence-based products, so he decided to work on developing a controlled method of fermentation for his now famous brews, especially ginger beer.
It’s this fermentation process that is an integral part of the Bundaberg brewing process and key to producing the rich flavour of each brew.
As Cliff explains: “It’s our point of difference in a market that became one of supplying refrigeration and post mix, and we’re proud of it.”
So why Bundaberg?
During the early years it was difficult to source local produce with Bundaberg being a predominantly sugar town but he saw the benefit of growing locally and Bundaberg provided many opportunities for growing and developing ginger. “We’ve made it a ginger town,” Cliff said.
“It was business first, then the ginger.
“The decision to grow and dry our own ginger came about shortly after we purchased the company which guarantees us good flavour and control over our hero brew.
“It’s what we are famous for.”
In 1985 sole responsibility of the company went to Cliff and his wife Lee.
Cliff became chairman and master brewer from that point and it was from here that a new era of expansion began.
With a change in name to Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Cliff introduced new flavours to the range of brews that has resulted in exponential growth of Bundaberg Brews to more than 44 countries globally to date.
This success stems from Cliff’s belief in working hard, and making the business work while gradually growing it to sustain more employees.
He attributes much of his success to the advice he received from his bank manager when deciding to buy the business, ‘that there is no best business, but that it was always the best operator of a business that made the business a success.’
‘ It’s our point of difference in a market that became one of supplying refrigeration and post mix, and we’re proud of it. — CLIFF FLEMING '
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Bundaberg Brewed Drinks owner Cliff Fleming