Milestone as Kerwee turns 60
KERWEE Group celebrated a special milestone last week, with the company celebrating 60 years in business.
Kerwee's Jondaryan facility is the oldest family-owned feedlot in Australia.
Last year the company decided to expand its operation significantly, a requirement to meet growing demand for its grain-fed angus and wagyu beef, which is marketed under the Stockyard label.
Stockyard CEO Lachie Hart said the company was chuffed to reach 60 years and was looking forward to many more.
"We're incredibly proud. As a family business I think we're well and truly punching above our weight as far as creating demand for the Stockyard brand and distributing products throughout international markets,” Mr Hart said.
"Our 60th year has been a fantastic year in regards to branded beef competitions.
"We not only won the trophy in Sydney but we also picked up trophies in the Brisbane and Melbourne shows.
"No other brand has achieved those three trophies in one year.
"That's made Stockyard the most awarded beef brand in Australia.
"We've got 75 prizes and awards that we've earned over the last 17 years.”
Mr Hart also noted his excitement at the prospect of the brand continuing to boom overseas thanks to the major expansion.
"Our previous capacity was 11,100 head and now it's 20,200 head, so it's about an 80 per cent increase in capacity,” he said.
"It's a significant investment to make and we wouldn't have done it if we weren't confident that the support of our customers internationally for our brand could grow.
"We'll probably consolidate around this level for now.
"I think our customers are going to be happy that we are going to be able to meet their demand.
"Having said that, we can't rest on our laurels too long and will have to start thinking about our next growth phase.
"I think our customers are going to continue to grow so we are going to find other feedlot facilities to continue our growth phase.”
Mr Hart said Kerwee was also conscious about the impact it could have in Jondaryan and its surrounds.
"The real thing for us is to ensure we're a good corporate citizen in a regional community and our neighbours benefit from our 'buy neighbours first' policy,” he said.
"We're really trying to put back into the community.
"We've done economic research on the expansion and we estimate we will be putting an additional $50million into the local community.”