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company features

making a splash
After sailing through the GFC, Cooroy Mountain Spring Water is on the ascendancy: there’ll be more product and more places to get it. Jayne Munday writes
Having saved the storied Queensland brand Wimmers from international hands back in 1997, cooroy mountain spring Water is now focusing on growing the business through an expansion of its product range as well as its distribution points. General manager Harry Burnett says the company is also planning to combine its separate factories into a single facility at cooroy. currently, both factories are located in cooroy in addition to a transport depot for distribution. a further depot is located in eagle farm, Brisbane. “In a couple of years we’re looking at having a new Wimmers factory built, which will bring a lot more of our employees together on a larger site in cooroy. “While they are two separate manufacturing facilities, we see ourselves as one company,” Burnett says. PoP ‘til you droP spring water and soft drink may appear an unlikely pairing to some, yet such variety has allowed cooroy mountain to really ramp up its offerings to distributors. Burnett says the acquisition of Wimmers (founded 1910) was an obvious step for cooroy mountain spring Water, founded in 1991 by entrepreneur Greg Dinsey, whose property in cooroy has been in his family since the early 1900s. Wimmers burst onto the beverage scene 100 years ago when father and son duo alfred and franz Wimmer established their first soft drink manufacturing plant in nambour on the sunshine coast. It relocated to cooroy a few years later and now has 14 different flavours on sale

throughout Queensland, Victoria, new south Wales, tasmania and new Zealand. “Wimmers have been based here in cooroy for a long time, so they [Wimmers] knew about our General manager, Greg Dinsey,” he says. “It was an obvious step, because of the synergy, that the business would be sold to cooroy mountain spring Water. “They fit in really well together because most of our customers for retail products are distributors in Queensland and interstate.” He explains the typical distributor will buy a range of water products, soft drinks, iced teas and energy drinks. “they will be buying all these drinks in and then reselling them to shop owners in that particular location. We don’t sell direct to the shop owner, we sell to distributors and they then sell to shop owners. “We’re building on the range all the time so we can service their [distributors’] needs better,” Burnett says. In addition to its 100 percent natural spring water, cooroy mountain has a separate division that sells water coolers directly to businesses. It has a fleet of 11 trucks in South East Queensland which delivers water daily to end users.

“South Australia is on the radar and we want to find more distributors in interstate areas.”

It is currently concentrating on improving reach, Burnett says. “south australia is on the radar and we want to find more distributors in interstate areas,” he says. He nominates further infiltration of melbourne and Darwin as a priority. in tHe mix Looking at the Wimmers and cooroy mountain range of products, clever marketing has been used to ensure strategic positioning at the top end of the market. “Wimmers is a premium product. We use expensive ingredients … our Wimmers soft drinks are the soft drinks you would have tasted 40 years ago,” Burnett says. “an orange soft drink I would have had when I was 10 is how Wimmers still tastes, as opposed to other brands which may have reduced the quality of the drink. “We are standing out in terms of the quality of the product and the labelling backs that up as well.” the story is similar with the cooroy mountain brand, which according to Burnett has just gone through a rebranding process. “the new label is quite a premium look. cooroy mountain spring Water sits very comfortably against other spring water products on the market,” he says. earlier this year, cooroy mountain showcased its premium range of products at the fine food Queensland event in Brisbane. the main focus of the event was to

market the brand — including Wimmers products — to retailers. Burnett says: “not only do distributors go to those shows but people who own retail outlets. this allowed us to point them to distributors in their areas.” putting a face behind the name was also important for existing customers. “this event only happens every two years and it hasn’t failed to impress,” Burnett highlights. CHarged glasses actively pursuing leads and getting its brand in the public eye has allowed cooroy mountain to achieve strong sales despite the recent economic slowdown. the group now employs 85 people across four sites — three in cooroy and one in Brisbane. “We’ve really gone hard on filling our distribution networks … and we’ve also been releasing new products. so sales have been strong,” Burnett says. He adds that a smart game plan meant the global financial crisis “didn’t really affect” the company. “But maybe if we had stood there and done nothing it would have affected us. The fact is we have been very proactive in the last 18 months in terms of distribution and product development,” Burnett says. Looking ahead Burnett says the company is forecasting positive growth, yet will continue watching costs: “We are being conservative on one hand but also expanding as quickly as possible into new markets with new products.”

“We are being conservative on one hand but also expanding as quickly as possible into new markets with new products.”
Just recently, the business also stepped up its presence in the restaurant/café scene by releasing a new range of sparkling spring water which is manufactured in glass bottles. on the Wimmers side, the core of the business is the traditional soft drinks including lemon lime and bitters, double sarsaparilla and creaming soda. BuBBling uP such a strong focus on customer needs has allowed cooroy mountain to develop a solid distribution system within Queensland over the years. ranked 148 in the 2010 Queensland 400, the business currently services distributors throughout Queensland as well as new south Wales, Victoria and tasmania.

30 | Q400 | 2010

2010 | Q400 | 31