“Doing more with what you’ve got” is an old but good adage that has good applicability in business. Walt Disney used a concept called “cross-utilisation” in the 70’s where he trained back office staff to also work in the theme park during busy periods.
Cross-utilisation, is a process that involves the use of resources, by-products or waste materials to produce other products. This approach has several benefits, including cost savings, environmental sustainability, diversification, increased efficiency, and improved quality.
Waste minimisation or re-use has proven to be successful in wineries, distilleries, and breweries, where the use of by-products or waste materials has resulted in the production of innovative and unique products. One of the primary benefits is cost savings. By using waste materials from one process to make another product, businesses can reduce waste disposal costs and save money on raw materials. To reuse waste and also create further profits, for example wineries in Europe have long used grape pomace to make pomace brandy or Grappa. Another use for pomace is for animal feed and/or compost.
Thinking like this also has environmental sustainability benefits. This practice helps to reduce the environmental impact of these industries by minimising waste and reducing the need for new raw materials. The process results in less waste and promotes the efficient use of resources.
Another advantage of this mindset is diversity. This approach allows businesses to expand their product offerings and diversify their revenue streams. By creating new products, these industries can mitigate the risk of relying on a single product or market.
Whisky has always been made from beer, but not often do distilleries sell beer as a finished product. However, Overland Brewers & Distillers are a Tasmanian company founded by three friends with decades of experience in the craft beer, wine and spirits industry. They decided to create a “boilermaker”, (a shot of whisky followed immediately by a glass of beer as a chaser), from the ground up, where they make both the whisky and the beer. It is a truly unique place, which makes the most out of what they have and speak to the wider public by offering both craft beer and full-flavoured whiskeys.
Making a wider variety of alcoholic beverages can help in managing different seasons and the amount of time they take to produce. There is also a different preference in customers’ demand, depending on the time of the year. Lighter beers, ciders or RTD’s might be a more popular choice in summer, while darker beers or whiskeys might be the go to in colder months.
It is also important to consider the different production times required for different types of alcoholic beverages. For example, beer typically takes several weeks to produce, while wine can take months or even years to fully mature. Spirits such as whiskey and rum may take years to age properly.
For example, Invivo is a New Zealand-based wine and spirits company founded in 2008 by Rob and Tim. They focus on innovation and customer needs, creating fun and unique products. Invivo has expanded its operations beyond wine production, venturing into the production of gin and vodka. Since wine takes a long time to produce, it only makes sense to utilise their time and staff to make spirits that are less time demanding.
Good George is a craft brewery founded by a group of friends with a passion for brewing high-quality, natural beer and cider. Their brewery is located in a former church building in Frankton, New Zealand and features an open layout to showcase the brewing process. They now also specialise in making beer, cider, spirits and even crafted cocktails aka RTD’s.
Taking a more creative approach to product lines, by-products and waste streams is a win-win situation for the wineries, distilleries, and breweries. It allows these industries to reduce waste, save money, and diversify their offerings, all while contributing to a more sustainable and efficient production process. These industries can create innovative and unique products while promoting a circular economy that minimises waste and maximises resource use. To combine 2 sayings, “if you’ve got, why not do more with what you’ve got” 😁.