Top 10 Tasmanian brands
Certain people will have problems with this list, but it is my list, and my opinion, much related to how these enterprises have built awareness of Tasmania outside the State.
Nobody has done a better job of promoting Tasmania than Tourism Tasmania. Of course, they are promoting a good ‘product’, as the marketers like to put it. This sounds strange, to my ears, describing a place that is called home by 500,000 people.
Spirit of Tasmania
There are two Spirit of Tasmania ferries operating between Melbourne and Devonport and, quite apart from the millions that the company spends on advertising the service, there is the fact that these great floating billboards are seen by multitudes every year. When the bean-counters did their sums and decided that the third service, from Sydney, was not profitable and needed to be axed, I do wonder whether they took this factor into their calculations. An aircraft, filled with cheap-seat passengers, taking off over Sydney or Melbourne does nothing to advertise that it is headed to the wonderful holiday isle of Tasmania. In the age of the airbus – with the emphasis on ‘bus’ – the romance of a sea voyage stirs emotion. It’s hard to make number-crunchers understand such things.
I remember sitting in a movie theatre in Sydney and seeing in an advert the foreshortened image of the 19th Century stone facade of Cascade Brewery pressed hard against a backdrop of the forested slopes of Mt Wellington. That fleeting picture captured my imagination, as it surely has done for millions around the world.
Cascade Beer is thoroughly drinkable, but it is the feeling that the pure water coming from those green glades has made it something special that causes you order again, and to possibly make a little pilgrimage to the source.
I have never quite got the “Who is James Boag?” advertising campaign but the competition between this Launceston brewer, and their ferociously loyal north-Tasmanian consumers, and the Hobart-based Cascade Brewery, and its southern counterparts, has undoubtedly informed mainland Australia that Tasmania produces goods that are distinctive and special.
Boags makes excellent beer. Maybe the mystery they try to create does more to stimulate curiosity about the origins of the product than a loud ‘Made in Tasmania’ slogan.
King Island Dairy
King Island, an island off the island of Tasmania, has many more bovine inhabitants than humans. The job of the humans is to protect the environment from chemicals, fertilisers and other noxious invasions. The job of the cows is to eat the island grass and to produce the purest milk, which the humans can then turn into cheese.
King Island Dairy products appeal to people who are increasingly dissatisfied with the way that mass-marketers have fiddled with food in pursuit of maximum profit margins. Tasmania, as a brand, has benefited enormously by King Island Dairy sticking to their principles and farming the way nature intended.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
On Boxing Day every year, when the television stations of the world, and hundreds of thousands of local residents, turn their eyes to the spectacle of billowing spinakers on Sydney Harbour they are aware that the entrants in this great yacht race are headed across wild open ocean for Hobart. In the play of this sometimes life-and-death drama, who is the person with a spirit so dull that they would not be drawn themselves to the destination of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race?
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra punches well above its weight, as any regular listener to ABC Classic FM will attest. Along with its recordings and concerts abroad the TSO has highlighted the fact that there is a strong commitment to the arts in Tasmania. The island does attract painters and sculptors and musicians, and the TSO trumpets to the world that Tasmania is more than a quarry, a market garden, a forest reserve and an old-peoples’ home.
Blundstone Boots are part of the Australian national costume. Well, they are if you are a tradesman and, given our grave shortage of skilled labour, who does not defer to the noble tradie these days. The Tap Dogs Dance Troupe made the elastic-sided workboots famous with their world concerts. Nowadays the boots are made in Asia, but the brand is forever Tasmanian.
Did you know? Around 40 percent of the world’s high-speed aluminium-hulled passenger/vehicle ferries were built at the Hobart shipyards of Incat. There are a lot of people riding a lot of vessels who must be astonished to read, on the brass plaque, that their transportation was built in Tasmania. Tasmania! Where’s that?
Robert Clifford founded Incat. It has been his dream and his drive that have made Incat what it is today. The Tasmanian government should award him whatever is their equivalent of knight of the realm.
When Robert Clifford collects his gong from the Tasmanian Government the next in line should be the Nichols family of north-west Tasmania. Where all the other brands on this list have reached well beyond our shores, Nichols Poultry have simply made it a reason to feel pretty smug about living on this island. Here is a company that sees its commitment to sustainability extend to a quarter million dollar investment in a wind turbine to generate electricity, large barns without partitions to allow poultry to range free, feed without antibiotics, artificial additives or growth promotants, and a massive effort to preserve the natural quality of the land, the creek water, the trees and vegetation. This is a seriously quality operation and the Department of Commerce and Industry could do no better than shine a spotlight on Nichols Poultry as an example of all that is commendable about Tasmanian produce.
Domaine A Wine
You don’t have to be a wine buff to know that there is a worldwide sub-culture of moneyed people who are passionate about fine wines. With multiple international awards and rave reviews there is one producer who has placed Tasmania on their radar. Peter Althaus, with his Domaine A range, from the Coal River Valley, near Hobart, is whispered about in these influential circles. Matthew Jukes from Halliday called Domaine A “the most gob smacking range of wines” he has tasted and he rated the Lady A Fume Blanc as the finest wooded Sauvignon in the world!