Official Opening of Stage 2 Building at the Australian Vinegar Factory
Thank you, Ms Genevieve Hooper.
Mayor, Councillor Vic Pennisi; Founder and Owner of the Australian Vinegar Factory, Mr Ian Henderson; staff; and tradespeople. Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me the privilege of opening this wonderful new building.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, and pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging.
I was delighted to receive the invitation to join you today and officially open the latest addition to this impressive Stanthorpe enterprise.
One of my most important roles as Governor of Queensland is to support and promote Queensland industry and produce, and Australian Vinegar is a great example of both a successful business and an outstanding product.
It’s now almost two decades since Ian Henderson first saw the potential and opportunity for a vinegar factory in the Granite Belt. Over that time, he has patiently pursued his bold vision, and Australian Vinegar, under its brand Lirah, now supplies superior, reliable products to food manufacturers, top chefs and households in Australia and around the world.
It's a great Queensland success story, but behind it lies not only Ian’s knowledge and experience as a scientist and winemaker, but his patience, passion and entrepreneurial flair. When those qualities are combined with careful planning, research and innovation, continuous improvement, flexibility, excellent marketing, skilled staff, and commitment to the local community you have a recipe for success.
There are many striking examples that demonstrate just how well this recipe has worked, but two of them have particularly struck me. First, in 2018, when strawberry growers were faced with dumping tonnes of fruit because of the needle contamination scare, Australian Vinegar used the berries to create a special-release vinegar, and donated the proceeds to Foodbank; second, after floods in North Queensland in 2019, the company pivoted seamlessly to producing white vinegar in response to an urgent call from Townsville for bulk supplies to treat mould.
Most of us, like that caller in Townsville, still think of vinegar in terms of mould removal, so converting Australians into regular and confident consumers of premium vinegar is no easy task. But Ian and his team have recognised that education, exposure and time are the keys to breaking down myths and misconceptions – after all, it’s not very long ago that the only cheese in Australia was cheddar and olive oil was for medicinal use only.
I congratulate the team at Australia Vinegar on the completion of this latest addition to the factory and innovation centre, and on the company’s success to date. It is a fine example of Queensland enterprise and, as I cut this ribbon, I have every confidence that Vincent of Saragossa, the Patron Saint of Vinegar Makers, will continue to keep a keen eye on the company’s future progress.