Soft-drink maker ends century tradition

TEAM: Husband-and-wife team Damian and Rosemary Casey will move their soft drink business to New South Wales, ending a long association with Gladstone and its residents.
TEAM: Husband-and-wife team Damian and Rosemary Casey will move their soft drink business to New South Wales, ending a long association with Gladstone and its residents.

A century-plus tradition will end when soft-drink maker F.C. Grubb ceases production in Gladstone within weeks.

The company will relocate to Corowa, New South Wales, with husband-and-wife team Damian and Rosemary Casey.

The couple was courted by Beechworth Heritage Drinks which was so impressed with their sparkling honey beverage that it bought the business.

“Our company wasn’t even on the market,” Mr Casey told The Flinders News.

“The only place the business can go ahead is by having that input from a larger business.”

While locals will mourn the departure of the firm which was founded in Gladstone in the 1870s, they can take solace there will be no job losses – apart from Mr and Mrs Casey who will move to Corowa with the company.

The Grubb’s drinks, including the famous cream soda, will still be available in the Mid North after the transition which is expected to take place by the New Year.

Mr Casey said the change would be “bitter-sweet”.

“We sold the business 12 months ago to one of our larger customers, Beechworth Heritage Drinks,” he said.

“We have been supplying them with honey drink for eight or nine years.

“They have probably seen the potential. We have manufacturing the sparkling honey drink for the past 30 years.

“We are picking up the whole business and shifting it. It will still be called F.C. Grubb, but the honey product will change and evolve.

“We had been running at 100 percent capacity pretty well all the time. It needs the next step … with knowledge and resources behind them.”

The couple had owned the firm in partnership with an Adelaide businessman.

“I am an employee now rather than an owner. It takes a bit of weight off my shoulders,” Mr Casey said.

The company dates back to the 1870s at the corner of Sixth and Cross Street with the initial owner being Thomas Jones Monro.

In 1914, the business was bought by former marine engineer Frederick Charles Grubb, trading under his own name. He became Gladstone's Mayor in 1916.

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