Grove Juice to put on the squeeze
WHEN Greg Willis puts the squeeze on it can only be good news for the region, with his massive Grove Juice operation all set to bear fruit.
The citrus and apple juice maker with 30 years of experience is putting the finishing touches on his new factory in Warwick's Axis Industrial Estate, after shifting his business here from Brisbane.
Production is set to start in a month and when at full capacity the Grove Juice plant - the result of a $6 million investment - will process a mind-boggling 50,000 tonnes of fruit a year.
Mr Willis is awaiting delivery of four juice extractors, high-tech enough to squeeze each piece of fruit individually and ensure no impurities find their way into the system.
"We made the decision to come to Warwick for a number of reasons, one of which was our move into apple juice and the proximity to Stanthorpe," Mr Willis said.
"There is also a transport operator, Dale Meredith, who has made a major commitment to ourselves and to Warwick and has bought a block of land right across the road.
"Once we reach full production, we'll be sending a B-double out of here every day with 32,000 litres of juice."
Grove's products include orange, mandarin, lemon, lime and grapefruit lines, as well as apple juice and they are able to source fruit from multiple growing regions to ensure a year-round supply.
Their strategy is based around keeping things natural, avoiding the traditional heat treatment of fruit juice used to aid in preservation.
Peel from the fruit will go into feedlot and dairy meal, rounding off the supply chain neatly.
The business is family-run, with son Tim - who at the age of the four was sticking Grove labels on his dad's bottles - having moved his young family to a property at Junabee.
The new factory will employ five, but Mr Willis hopes to relocate their bottling plant from Brisbane to a site next door to the new processing facility.
"That may be 12 or 18 months down the track, but we'd be looking at between 30 to 40 more jobs," he said.