Founder and original master brewer of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Cliff Fleming is the man behind the famous ginger beer we all know and love.
“It started for me in 1968. My mother and father and my wife, Lee and myself decided we’d go into this business of brewing beer, “Cliff said. “The idea was that we would not just make a soft drink, that we’d be different in a brewed soft drink.”
From then to now, the technology has certainly changed.
“We were fermenting in bottles in the initial stages,” Cliff said. “The method of bottle fermenting can give you variants in flavour and variants in quality and it was quite obvious once we knew what we were doing that that couldn’t continue.”
“That turned to us fermenting in large enclosed fermenters. Once we reproduced the flavour of our beer in that controlled methodology we were able to go out and market our brewed drinks.”
The rest, as they say, is history and while much has changed in all those years, some important things remain the same.
“That bottle, the stubby bottle, has always been our image,” Cliff said. “We put a ring pull on it some 20 years ago, we used to have a crown seal.”
It’s a success story that Cliff puts down to many things, one being, of course, Bundaberg itself.
“When people are around you supporting you, people that work for you, work with you and people in the town that want to see you succeed, it becomes easier and this has been a wonderful town for that and still is a wonderful town for support.”
It’s the support that goes both ways.
“We’re using Bundaberg sugar, Bundaberg ginger, our bottles are made in Brisbane, our cartons are made in Brisbane, so it’s very much a Queensland Bundaberg product.”
It’s fair to say Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has put Bundaberg not only on the Australian map but the world map, now selling in almost 70 countries!
In fact, the factory produces over 800,000 bottles each day.
It’s always been a family affair and will continue to be so as today Cliff’s son-in-law takes the reins.
“We’ve been an overnight success that’s taken 50 years,” Cliff said. “In that, there’s been a lot of learnings but my greatest learning is that the team that I’ve got around us, the family and the team, have been the reason we’ve been so successful.”
You can see Cliff’s family legacy for yourself at The Bundaberg Barrel. There you can take a self-guided tour through the brewing process and you can even taste test the entire range.
The Bundaberg Barrel
147 Bargara Road, Bundaberg East
Monday to Saturday 9am – 4.30pm
Sunday 10am – 3pm