by Jim Alouat
BUNDABERG Brewed Drinks co-founder Cliff Fleming hopes a new landmark distribution deal with Pepsi will see a new super brewery built here in Bundaberg.
The Pepsi deal will see the famous ginger beer company's beverages produced in the US for the first time.
It also means the company will need to build a new plant to meet the global demands.
Mr Fleming, 74, who stepped down as chairman last week but remains on the board, said nothing would make him happier than to celebrate his company's 50th year with the announcement that a new plant would be built here in Bundaberg.
"We have people looking for a location,” he said.
"I would hope that place would be in Bundaberg but due diligence must be done first.
"For it to be here, the infrastructure and the ability to serve our customers worldwide will be the key factor.”
From its humble beginning in the 1960s, the family business has now surged onto the global stage with yearly net sales of $160 million and employing more than 200 people.
But this global growth meant Mr Fleming felt it was time to pass on the baton.
"By 2028 we believe we will have doubled our business,” he said.
Independent board member Terry O'Brien, who spent 16 years as managing director of food manufacturing giant Simplot, took over as chairman.
"Terry has both family and world business experience and my family will be able to learn from him,” he said.
Mr Fleming reflected on his company's 50-year history and its tremendous success, which he said was based on wonderful relationships.
"It started off with a very good product,” he said.
"But I have had all the help in the world from people in Bundaberg, from sugar mills and distilleries to farmers.”
Mr Fleming said as the business expanded it garnered more attention from buyers.
"Yes, we have had offers and we get offers regularly but we're not interested,” he said.
"I have never thought about moving the business from Bundaberg.”
Mr Fleming said he would keep an eye on things for a time before packing his bag and going on a well-earned holiday with his wife.