Food and beverage manufacturers in the Hunter region of New South Wales are encouraged to get their entries in for the annual Hunter Manufacturing Awards, with entries closing on 19 August.
The awards cover all businesses actively engaged in the manufacturing sector, including allies, in the Upper Hunter, Lower Hunter, Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Port Stephens, and Mid-North Coast regions.
There are 14 categories and organisations are encouraged to apply for as many categories as relevant to their business:
- Apprentice of the Year
- Rising Star Award
- Outstanding Start-Up Award
- Excellence in Building Workforce Capability for the Future
- Excellence in Export and Global Supply Chains
- Excellence in Innovation
- Excellence in Marketing
- Excellence in Manufacturing Capability
- Excellence in Product Design
- Excellence in Sustainable Operations
- Collaboration Partnership Award
- Manufacturing Leader Award
- Manufacturer of the Year Award – less than 50 employees
- Manufacturer of the Year Award – 50 or more employees
Kawal Rock Distillery in Fordwich is entering this year in the Excellence in Product Design and Excellence in Sustainable Operations categories.
Kawal Rock spirits are grape-based and distilled in-house.
Owned and operated by Louise Foster and Maria Schuler, the two fell in love with the site by chance.
“We were taken by the peace and serenity. We just knew it was something special, the way the old European vines met the harsh Australian bushland, the Rock keeping guard over the vineyard… and those never-ending country skies,” they said.
Schuler is managing director and Foster head distiller and vigneron. Together they have become known to locals as “the girls on the hill”, which in turn has become the gin range’s name.
Everything is handcrafted, from developing the grape-based gin to the distilling, bottling, and labelling.
The pair’s project with bushfire smoke-tainted grapes was the basis for the Excellence in Sustainable Operations entry,
Foster said, “These grapes could not be used to produce wine due to the flavour, however, this is eliminated once distilled.
“The growers were able to claim some income from an otherwise lost crop. We also take unwanted wine from tanks that would otherwise be dumped. But the biggest impact environmentally would have to be the use of unwanted bottled wine.
“This wine would be destined for landfill, however, we empty each bottle, distil the wine, and send the bottles to a company on the Central Coast that grinds the glass for road base. There is no waste.”
For more information on the awards, click here.