South Gippsland Dairy and its highly successful colostrum milk powder initiative has also been shortlisted for the award, Korumburra dairy farmer Neil Walker pictured (photo contributed).

IT’S been a big couple of days for Phil Dempster and the team at Burra Brewing.

Not only did they get a huge boost in isolation when they were shortlisted by Food & Fibre Gippsland as finalists in the 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards, but they also heard they can reopen… woo-hoo!!

“Yeah, we’re pumped about the new restrictions being lifted for Regional Vic, let’s face it who wouldn’t be,” said Phil on Facebook on Wednesday.

“We can seat 50 people in our beer garden and 20 inside.”

And when the news came in of their shortlisting for a prestigious award earlier this week, they were almost as excited.

“Wow, how pumped are we?

“So excited to announce we are finalists in this year’s Excellence in Agribusiness Awards,” said Phil.

“Congratulations to our fellow finalists, what an awesome group to be amongst.”

So, there’ll be plenty to raise a glass about this Friday, September 18 when the brewery reopens for sit down food and drinks in 45-minute blocks, under their approved COVID-safe dining plan.

Bookings are a maximum of 10 people per booking and in 1hr 45-minute blocks, with a 15 minutes cleaning in between bookings.

Times on Friday are 4pm to 5:45pm, 6:00 to 7:45pm and 8pm to 10pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, it’s 12pm to 1:45pm, 2pm to 3:45pm, 4pm to 5:45pm, 6pm to 7:45pm and 8pm to 10pm.

If you want to make a booking, or need additional info call on Burra Brewing on 5658 1446.

Four finalists

South Gippsland is prominent in the awards with Korumburra dairy farmers Shelley Walker and Neil Walker of South Gippsland Dairy and their highly successful colostrum milk powder business growing strongly, and attracting added interest due to the immune deficiency issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four Gippsland entrepreneurs have been shortlisted as finalists in the 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards, an industry recognition program run by Food & Fibre Gippsland.

The entrepreneurs acknowledged as finalists include:

* Berry Sensation, Shady Creek

* Burra Brewing, Korumburra

* Little Bumble Wraps, Warragul

* South Gippsland Dairy, Korumburra.

The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award is one of 15 categories that make up the Excellence in Agribusiness Awards – a program that celebrates all food and fibre sectors to recognise agribusinesses (pre and post farmgate) that have demonstrated innovation, excellence and business practices that maximise productivity and profitability.

The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recognises a single individual displaying entrepreneurial spirit, vision and innovation to develop and drive a unique and successful thriving service, business, product or outcome.

Other nominees

A fine example of a passionate Gippsland entrepreneur is Laura Eddington who founded Little Bumble Wraps in Warragul and is a subsequent finalist in the category. Laura Eddington, Founder and Director of Little Bumble said “a key strategy for sustaining our rapid growth has been to stay nimble as a business and to stay connected to our customers and focus on solving their problems. This has more crucial now than ever and has helped us to thrive during turbulent conditions”.

On being named a finalist in the Excellence in Agribusiness Awards she added: “We are on cloud from being selected as finalists, it’s an absolute honour.”

Little Bumble Wraps have revolutionised fresh food storage by providing a plastic free alternative that significantly reduces the 10-billion-dollar food wastage crisis in Australia.

Utilising a blend of beeswax, a by-product of honey, natural plant oils and cotton fabric they manufacture premium reusable food wraps that keep food fresher for significantly longer.

Established in 2017, Little Bumble experienced rapid growth that has seen them employ up to nine employees and move to commercial premises with over 100 stockists nationwide.

They have begun partial automation and are now exporting to Singapore.

By implementing several pivots since March this year, they have experienced an online growth of 300% compared to last year and have defined themselves in the industry as leaders, being mentioned as food wrap stars by Choice.

Kate Wallis, Executive Agribusiness Manager at the Commonwealth Bank and category sponsor of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award said: “Our organisation is really proud to support the Excellence in Agribusiness Awards as we love seeing all the Gippsland entrepreneurs within our region celebrated.”

Her colleague Donna Krzaric added: “The Award winner will have great knowledge in not only innovation but also Gippsland as a region. We see this winner being fresh, innovative, creative, passionate, motivated and having a general desire to succeed.”

Excellence Awards Program Manager Kate Gunn is pleased with the incredible line-up of finalists.

“These Awards are an important vehicle for recognising success, sharing achievements and inspiring others in our region. The entrepreneurs shortlisted are shaping the future of Gippsland. We need to tell their stories and position Gippsland’s food & fibre sector as leaders in the country and beyond. Because quite simply, that’s what they are.”

Deputy Judge of the Awards program, Stuart Quigley, was impressed with all finalists in this particular category.

“Each of the finalists have demonstrated the ability to think out of the box and to bring new ideas to market through a combination of clever technology and innovative business models/ value chains.

“They are all excellent examples of innovative Gippslanders who are passionate about the food and fibre sector and prepared to back themselves. For some they have been able to demonstrate an ability to pivot their business models rapidly when confronted with the Covid 19 pandemic this year.”

The winners of the Excellence in Agribusiness Awards will be announced at an event scheduled for November 20, 2020. With ongoing COVID-19 restrictions still likely to impact the ability to stage a large-scale gala presentation dinner, organisers are working on an engaging online event to celebrate and showcase the Award winners.