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Celebrating Victoria’s regional communities

02/05/2022

The Regional Community Achievement Awards sits up there with Victoria’s best vanilla slice – a favourite amongst regional Victorians. It acknowledges the valuable contributions from Victoria’s regional communities in making their regions inspiring places to live.

Since 2015, the Victorian Government invested almost $30 billion in projects that make a difference for rural and regional Victorians, creating thousands of jobs and making these regions even better places to live, work, visit and invest.

The Community Achievement Awards began in 2002 and have become one of the most respected and recognised award programs in regional Victoria.

As a continued supporter of the awards, the Victorian Government is proud to sponsor the Business Achievement Award and Leadership and Innovation Award.

Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award 2021

Jon Mackie, founder of Daylesford Cider stands in front of a tree full of apples wearing a large wide brim hat and collection of fresh apples in a bag hanging from his neckDaylesford Cider Company is committed to innovation and organic well-made traditional cider. Daylesford Cider is a small-scale cider producer owned by Jon and Clare Mackie who purchased the business in 2015. Jon is self-taught and has refined their cider styles whilst also developing new innovative styles to distinguish their brand. Clare runs the on-site cellar door, aiming to establish the business within the local and regional tourism. They also hold events and offer Cider Makers Tours during the summer. They employ 12 staff from the local area.

Founders: Clare and Jon Mackie

Clare Mackie is about to prepare for a lunch time long weekend rush when she picks up the phone. Located just out of town, Daylesford Cider Company takes their apples seriously.

“England has such a long history with cider and I really wanted to bring that here when I moved to Australia,” Clare said.

She shares that the golden drink has been around for a couple of 1,000 years in England and those that worked on farms were often paid in cider. Fast forward to current day, cider on tap sits proudly next to a British pub’s range of beers. Something she wants to see more of in Australian pubs.

The Daylesford business has six to 10 different ciders throughout the year and made traditionally with 100% crushed apples grown on their local orchard. Clare explains traditional cider was not generally fizzy and she wanted to includes some more traditional cider styles in their range.

“It’s not as common in Australia but we’ve perfected a range that caters for the demographic here – dry, sweet, everything,” Clare said.

“We pick each apple by hand, the orchards are full at the moment so we’ve got time set aside next week to crush them all.

The craft cider business embraces the seasonality and work with the apples they are given to develop the rich and complex flavours the business is known for.

As they get ready for the lunchtime rush, Clare says she hopes to open the kitchen seven days a week with a focus on local produce. They currently offer platters and woodfire pizzas Friday through to Monday. Almost as popular as their ciders, the freshly made pizzas with toppings sourced locally are bringing the crowds back for seconds.

Regional Development Victoria Leadership and Innovation Award 2021

Strathbogie Local of Euroa is a volunteer start-up created to support local food producers and consumers in response to the closure of farmers’ markets during COVID-19 restrictions. Using their networks, Strathbogie Local created an online farmers’ market where food producers were able to advertise their produce and consumers could ‘click and collect’ their orders. Strathbogie Local has taken on the marketing, purchasing, sorting and distribution, allowing local growers to focus on producing fresh quality products.

Founders: Renata and Shirl



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