Episode 027 - Emily Beatty - Growing Local at Eastcoast Juice - NOT The Rob Bell Podcast | Limeworks

Episode 027 - Emily Beatty

Growing Local at Eastcoast Juice

Emily Beatty is the marketing manager at Eastcoast Beverages, one of the Central Coast's largest manufacturers, and one of only a few Aussie-owned fresh juice manufacturers left in Australia.  

With a 50year history of making orange juice and more, we find out what's working with their marketing, where they're finding success, and challenges along the way. All that and more!

More about Eastcoast's Day On The Farm: https://www.eastcoastbeverages.com.au/harvest-festival.html

Follow Eastcoast Beverages on

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eastcoast_beverages/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eastcoastbev

Website: https://www.eastcoastbeverages.com.au/

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Please note, while an effort is made to provide an accurate transcription, errors and omissions may be present. No part of this transcription can be referenced or reproduced without permission.

Emily: We're one of the only family owned Aussie made Aussie owned juice companies left basically in Australia. I think it was something like 200000 tonnes of peel

Rob: Wow.

Emily: Went to struggling farmers. Yes. So the drought did impact us pretty heavily. But

Emily: In twenty nineteen, we had about 10000 people throughout the day come in.

Rob: Welcome to not the Rob Bell podcast, where we talk with business owners, marketers and professionals to extract what makes people and businesses successful. Hi, everyone, and thanks for tuning in to not the Rob Bell podcast. Today's guest, I've got Emily Beatty, marketing manager for Eastcoast Beverages. With a 50 year history of making orange juice and more, we find out what's working in marketing, where they're finding success and challenges along the way. All that and more coming up now, though, Emily Beatty from Eastcoast Juice I've got you here in the studio today. Thanks so much for joining us.

Emily: No problem, thanks for having me.

Rob: It's really great to have you here. And so we might have just picked up on a little bit of an American twang, but you are working at one of the Central Coast largest manufacturers here at Eastcoast Juice. Can you give us a little bit about your history and where you started professionally and how you came to get here?

Emily: Yep, so first came in 2012, just doing some volunteer work up in the bush and then did a bit of a Contiki like tour from Sydney or from Cairns actually down to Sydney and then headed to Fiji, met a boy, as you do, and moved out here indefinitely in 2014. And from there sort of scooted my way around different communications jobs. I worked in the travel industry, funnily enough, for visit California. And then I made my way to radio and did a few things. There weren't in a full service advertising agency and Sydney and landed in the Central Coast working up on Mangrove Mountain.

Rob: Beautiful, nice part of the world to be in.

Emily: Definitely. Very nice.

Rob: And so you're originally from California.

Emily: Yep.

Rob: And I see professionally, you've got listed a BA journalism, but interestingly, I picked up that you also went to a place called Citrus College.

Emily: Hahah

Rob: And is the irony not lost there that you now work for Eastcoast Juice?

Emily: You know what, I've never noticed that, but I really appreciate it.

Rob: No it's very, very interesting and so obviously you hear on the podcast today, but talking into the mic is no strange thing for you. You were doing some news reads at SCA.

Emily: Yep.

Rob: How was that experience? Was that where you sort of intended your professional career going?

Emily: Not initially, no, it just the opportunity arose while I was at radio to do some news reading on the weekends and was still trying to find, you know, where I really wanted to land with my journalism background. So I thought I would just give it a go. So I did that for just over a year. And yeah, it was just on weekends. And yeah, it was an experience.

Rob: Definitely sounds like a good one.

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: And so you've worked in a few different areas of communications, you know, from the media by through to agency has said that's I'm sure all those skills are really culminating in your current role as marketing manager at Eastcoast. Is there something that stands out there, you know, your previous experience that really stood out to help you now?

Emily: You know, I got a lot of contacts through my years in agency and also on the client side and having worked on the coast previously for a while, I've really gotten to know the area pretty well, not so much up on the mountain, but it definitely helped in having those connections to the region already.

Rob: Awesome, and because for those listening outside of the Central Coast may not have heard of Eastcoast Juice, it is a very local centric company

Emily: Mm hmm.

Rob: With local farming and bringing together produce from across New South Wales. How important is that local sort of position for Eastcoast juice to really play to that strength of being local?

Emily: Hmm, it's massive, we're one of the only family owned Aussie made Aussie owned juice companies left basically in Australia. So it's really important that, you know, we maintain that message that we put out to buy local support, local, love, local. And that's the message I'm always trying to pump.

Rob: It sounds sounds like it's certainly working a treat. Can you give us a little bit of a background around Eastcoast juice? We kind of skipped a step there. And I know the Eastcoast has been around for over 50 years, locally owned and operated. You know, is that something you can share there about the history and

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: status of Eastcoast Juice?

Emily: Yep, so basically a man, Salvatore Lentini, came over from Italy, they initially started picking and packing fruit like a lot of Italian families did back then, and he had three sons. And at that time, the government lifted the tariffs on imported concentrate, which meant it was cheaper to import that concentrate than it was to squeeze fresh juice. So him and his three sons, they decided to diversify and start squeezing their own fresh produce.

Rob: It's amazing, and I remember as a kid when a lot of that concentrate started coming through, you could buy it as concentrate just

Emily: Yep.

Rob: On the supermarket shelves. But personally, I've seen Eastcoast Juice go from really a fairly unknown brand where you could maybe pick up a bottle at a corner store. Not that those really exist anymore, but now it's found in major players like Coles, Woolworths and an Aldi. Has that really pushed, you know, the innovation there to sort of scale up and cater for that sort of market?

Emily: Yeah, definitely so essentially Salvatores, three sons, they are sort of migrating out of the business, retiring, and and so there's three more that's moved on to its third generation. You got Samuel, Sammy and Dom. There's a lot of Samuels in that family. Yeah. But basically, one third gen came in is when we really started getting into those big box retailers. We had a stint in McDonald's and it sort of went from there.

Rob: I do I do recall the availability in McDonald's and you've mentioned third gen there, so obviously it's a very family centric business.

Emily: Yep.

Rob: Does that present a few challenges as a marketer trying to innovate and try new things where maybe there's a little bit of, you know, historic legacy to to retain their.

Emily: That's one of the things I really try to like, emulate in everything that I do with the marketing is really highlighting that legacy because it's so important and it's so rare these days to have that history behind a company and for it to have stayed a family business.

Rob: Absolutely.

Emily: So it's really important for me to be able to get that message across. And because it's a story that needs to be heard really. And I think that we do a good job at respecting what Salvatore started and working with the family. You know, it's great there, pretty much all on site. So and if they don't live actually on site, they live just around the corner. So it's fairly easy to, you know, call them up, say, hey, we want to do this. Hey, we want to film these videos, get you telling some stories, and they're pretty flexible and adaptable. So it's really pretty easy for me to to get all of the family content.

Rob: Yeah, and I thought content really seems to extend to the farmers as well. I've watched some videos on Farmer that literally lives across the road from the Eastcoast property. Now, does it do you find that it's challenging once you've told that story, wants to continue finding ways to tell it in a new way to sort of stay fresh and relevant?

Emily: Yeah, actually, there's always that bit of recycling of content that you have to do at most businesses is just finding that different angle. And, you know, it's not just the farmers, it's the regions as well. So we can talk about that. Just one of the biggest challenges is just sort of competing against those multinational companies and really getting that cut through of being Aussie made and owned and and then all that.

Rob: Yeah I mean, certainly the marketing budgets aren't going to compete with someone like, you know, Coca-Cola or some other really massive brand,

Emily: Yep.

Rob: Are there's some tricks or some really stand out ideas that have have played well for Eastcoast juice when it comes to, say, pushing supermarket sales or anything like that that really helps you sort of maximize the budget that you do have?

Emily: Yep, so one of the things that we do a lot of is what we call neck tags, and these can be designed pretty much any way that we want to and can promote any message that we're wanting to push. For example, you know, in the height of covid started, we really wanted to push the whole vitamin C message and all the benefits that you can get from orange juice. And so, yeah, basically you can design these neck tags and they just go around the cap on the bottle and we basically get a few gather a few people at work to stand in an assembly line and we hand put these neck tags on thousands of bottles. And that's one of the ways that we try to stand out on shelves. And there's a few other people that do things like that. But it's one of the things that we do pretty often because there's always different messages that we're wanting to convey.

Rob: And obviously finding that it's working. And I mean, you're talking about, you know, manual production line for, you know, neck tags and things like that, but you guys are still pushing for 40 or 50 tons of oranges in a day. From something I've seen on your website,

Emily: Mm hmm.

Rob: Like how much of a hassle does it take to really pull that sort of thing together and as that family orientation really help?

Emily: Definitely, I think we're up to about 45 or so employees, so it's grown grown a fair bit. And like I said, we've we have everything on site. We have the farm. We have our own citrus that we squeeze and and bottle in the same day and as well as getting fruit in from regions like Griffith. But, yeah, it really helps having that family dynamic for sure. We have juice lines. We have a water line. It's all it's all right there.

Rob: And so you mentioned water and I've seen a few other things pop up around, you know, diversifying product and appealing to different segments of the market, such as the designated driver or, you know, maybe someone who wants just a little takeaway bottle or orange juice in a can, which is potentially a novel idea. How important of those coming into the Eastcoast and and how do you cater for those as.

Emily: Well, together with the managing director, myself and our procurement manager, we sort of get together every few months. We go to the big retailers, we see what other people are doing. We see what's trending. We see if it's something that we can do ourselves. And then we also sort of try to create new ideas sort of from those sessions where we're sort of brainstorming. But it's sort of led us to what we call the good drop, which is a non-alcoholic cocktails. So they are ready to drink. All you have to do is shake them over ice. We have a few flavors Margherita, Vodka, Sunrise, Cosmopolitan and a pina colada. And we started bottling those into one leader bottles and we had a stint in Woolley's with them. And they did. They went really well. And so we've got that range as well as, like you said, the orange juice in the can, which has been really, really great from a sustainability point of view, because that's something that is really at the heart, really, of Eastcoast.

Rob: So and you say it's at the heart and I've seen a lot of messaging around, nothing wasted orange peels going back to farmers as fodder and, you know, fully recyclable packaging. Do you feel the need to sort of lean on that when maybe some of the bigger players are going, look, we're now recyclable, but now you guys have been doing it for quite some time.

Emily: Yeah, we have, yeah, like you said, our mantra basically is nothing wasted, so our bottles, caps, everything is recyclable. The washdown water from the plant goes back out into the trees to replenish them. And pulp from pulp reduces sort of goes into different products like yogurt, Chobani and things like that. So that's something we've been doing for a long time. And I think last year I think it was something like 200000 tons of people

Rob: Wow.

Emily: Went to struggling farmers during the drought, even not in the drought. So we have got trucks coming in. We basically have appeal hopper. And so the trucks pull in underneath that. They open the door at the bottom and the pile goes into these trucks and then they're off on their way up to to farmers for them. They basically mix it with grain and they feed it to sheep and cattle.

Rob: Amazing. It's the best way to use it and

Emily: Definitely.

Rob: Yeah, 100 percent maybe confident something to some alcohol at some

Emily: Yeah,

Rob: Point, but.

Emily: We're thinking about it.

Rob: Yeah, I think I think why not. And so you talked about the drought just then a little bit as well. Do you find yourself having to adapt with these supply issues or anything like that, which are obviously a bigger consideration now that you are distributing it to major retailers as well?

Emily: Yes, so the drought did impact us, you know, pretty heavily because, you know, along with the drought, there was also the floods that came after and then there was fires that we faced. And because it is fresh juice, you know, we really, really rely on Mother Nature and what it can give us. And so. Things like that poses a challenge for sure, but we we really leverage that as well of what we're doing and we're always doing things in the community donations. We worked with shelter a lot. So it's it's really one of our passions is just to help others, other locals, people that are struggling.

Rob: And so buying into that like localized marketing as well, I see some partnerships with local businesses, even Six String Brewery, who's well known on the coast.

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: How well do those partnerships form? And, you know, how hard are they to get off the.

Emily: In terms of Six String, that's a lemonade, and they basically use our lemons, and if you haven't tried it, you have to because it is the best fizzy lemonade that anybody could have over here. But it was it was fairly simple. You know, they approached us. They said, we're releasing this lemonade and can and because they use our lemons, it was pretty simple. It was a really good synergy because we have worked alongside them before. They've used one of our juices and one of their tropical beers. So that one was that one was fairly simple to go along with. Yeah. And then we just get approached by some other local businesses and it's, you know, it's usually a simple yes. And we make something pretty good out of it.

Rob: I mean, the community engagement aspect is obviously quite important, you guys, and you do. I'm going to get the wording wrong, but the Farm Open Day, which is coming up soon. How well does that serve as a, you know, a really experiential and immersive way for the community to see what you guys do and further reinforce the brand?

Emily: Right. So day on the farm is coming up. Yep, June long weekend. Obviously, we weren't able to throw it last year, but in 2019, we had about 10000 people throughout the day come in just a one day event. And we have market stalls, food stalls, other local vendors, fruit and veg, everything that you could possibly want at a normal market. And we're also offering factory and farm tours as well. And we recently purchased a bit of a trailer that hooks on to our tractor and we've got that branded. And so that's going to be another offering on the day for people to take a ride around the farm and learn all about it. It's really just pushing that region, because I find often that so many people don't really know what's on the mountain and just how close it is to everything. I mean, we're basically halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, so it's tangible. People can come up, they can see how we do what we do. And it's a really good day and we really try to promote that sustainability again. So we have fun things like blending bikes where you essentially just have to bike and it makes your own smoothie

Rob: Nice.

Emily: Out of our juice. So that's always been really well received and it's a really good day. And I think it sort of highlights. More of the rural region that we have here on the central coast.

Rob: Yeah, it's certainly a little bit hidden from public mind normally when you're, you know, driving past the stadium or something like that,

Emily: Yep.

Rob: Don't realize just how close these things are.

Emily: Yep, definitely a hidden gem.

Rob: And so obviously, you can get, you know, 10000 people there,

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: Probably more this year as people are looking to venture out. How do you capitalize on that from a, you know, to to get the maximum value, pushing them digitally, signing up emails, you know, what sort of things you're doing to really gain traction?

Emily: Yep, we've we've relied pretty heavily on Socials this year with sort of the challenges that have come with council in recent months, we weren't able to get funding like we normally do for the event. So we've sort of had to scale back any advertising efforts. I've really pushed the whole Facebook thing. I think we have something like 6000 people that have put interested for the event, which is great.

Rob: Yep.

Emily: We've also sort of partnered with Glenmore Thali. So Glenmore Valley reached out to me and and asked if we could share audiences, which we did. So we've just sort of had to get a little bit creative this year and how we promote the event, but also have done email campaigns. We've done some radio. So that message is really getting out there. We've people have said that they've heard it on air, which is great. And

Rob: Awesome.

Emily: Yeah, hopefully it's going to be a great turnout this year.

Rob: Yeah, I have no doubt that it will be and for those those listening outside of the Central Coast, out Central Coast Council is currently in administration, so they aren't really spending too much money supporting local projects at the moment while they work out their challenges. And so you've mentioned leveraging on social media and digital. I'm curious to know I've seen some really interesting content from you guys, which is often just quit content and even a very humorous Valentine's Day video featuring yourself. And I'm really curious to know your experience in what sort of content is resonating with your audience and what's helping roll it.

Emily: It's so easy creating content at Eastcoast, along with having the family and the farm on site and being able to take photos from any different angle, and it can look different. We also really have a lot of fun there. And that's one thing I love about working there, because I'm a bit quirky and fun myself. So it's been really easy to sort of get into that mindset of like how we can make it a bit fun. Yeah, every year we do something for Valentine's Day and it was my debut,

Rob: Hahahah.

Emily: But it's yeah, it's one of the fun ones that we've done before. It's just really good to be able to get creative like that and have it not be so serious all the time.

Rob: Yeah, I mean, certainly the views up there are pretty amazing looking like, you know, computer wallpapers and things at every turn. Is there something that stands out in your mind that was the most impromptu thing that you've sort of considered and pushed it out and it just went gangbusters?

Emily: A lot of the stuff that we post on sustainability goes really, really well, people love it and it's with covid and everything. One of the benefits of covid was that people really started focusing again on ozone made in ozone owned. So I always leveraged that. I always try to do, you know, what I can that, you know, doesn't require spending a lot of money. So there's ozone made and own Facebook groups that I've been able to join and post in there about the family, about sustainability. And it just goes insane. So it's it's a good way of reaching the people that we haven't already reached, especially because in those groups it's national people state-wide, whereas we're currently mainly based in New South Wales. Pretty saturated in New South Wales, so it's really good to reach people outside of that.

Rob: And expanding to those other regions face different marketing challenges even when it comes to physically getting people to the product.

Emily: Yep, so in New South Wales, obviously, like I said, we're in retail outside of that state, we have distributors. So a lot of the times when we get people mainly from Queensland and Victoria reaching out to us, how can we find your product? We normally pass them on to local distributors where they can contact them and they can hopefully tell them the closest place to them, where they can find it.

Rob: So circling back a little bit to some of these like premixed non-alcoholic cocktails and things like that, do you find that those new products really resonate with the same audience or do you find that it sort of expands into the new areas that can maybe come back to your core products as well?

Emily: Well, the reason why we we sort of kept it non-alcoholic is because we are a family brand and so it really was on Brand for us. It's a whole different market, really. It's a little bit niche, but it's it's a trend that's growing. And we've seen that in Europe, in the US, people being what they call. So we're curious. So we always joke around at the at the office saying we don't know why people are like that, because we all drink alcohol. But it works for some people. But it's good in the sense that you can you reach expecting mothers or people who just want to maybe part time drink and then other times not or people from a health perspective or if their designated driver. There's many different reasons why people might think to not to move away from drinking alcohol.

Rob: So do you find that that audience maybe then carries back through to like or orange juice products and things like that?

Emily: It's definitely a way into it, yeah, if we're reaching people in a new audience, it's sort of we sort of had to work a little bit because we one of the challenges was whether we kept the good drop under the Eastcoast umbrella or we sort of made it its own entity, which is what we ended up doing. But what we found in the process was that because Eastcoast is such a well-known brand around here, we sort of had to pivot a little bit and and make sure that people knew that it was part of us and that even that we still make on site because it's mainly fresh juice, which is another differentiator from other non-alcoholic drinks.

Rob: I mean, it definitely presents a challenge when you've got this core brand with such amazing history and powerful community relationships to then bring out a product and a new brand that sort of can't leverage that directly. Do you think if you were to push out a new product again, you maybe try and leverage Eastcoast a little bit more from the outset?

Emily: Definitely, we're always like I said, we're always conceptualizing a lot of things, um, it's just a matter of, you know, we really have to work with the retailers and and basically we have what we call a range view twice a year where we can go and present to them some new things that we're thinking of, as well as things that we already have in our product range that they might not have in stores. And it's really the only chances that we get and they either like it or they don't like it. So it's just trying to find that balance between what actually has legs and what, you know, really sounds good to us in theory.

Rob: And I guess with some strong digital media background yourself, I'm curious to know, are we going to see Eastcoast on tick tock comes?

Emily: You know what, I created a ticktock for Eastcoast, sort of what it it it was like sort of at the peak of, like, everyone getting on to it and everything. So we did we did make a couple Tic Tacs for Easter. We we always do videos, fun videos for Easter as well as Valentine's Day. And and because 20 last year, 2020, it was during covid, we sort of came to the Easter video from a perspective of, you know, everyone's really sad, they can't leave. And so sort of the Easter Bunny, like just bringing joy to people. And then at one point the Easter Bunny breaks out and did like one of the popular Tick-Tock dances at the time to the weekend. I was the bunny, so.

Rob: Luckily, so the Valentine's Day was wasn't your wasn't your first appearance.

Emily: That's true, that's true, just wasn't hidden inside, you know, a flaming hot bunny costume.

Rob: Yeah, sure. In February.

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: On this subject of social media, too, I'm a little bit curious to understand you mentioned Facebook works quite well for you as a company. Do you find that different content is resonating differently on the various platforms? Because I think primarily Instagram and Facebook.

Emily: Yeah, it's normally we post the same content on both platforms and we're really trying to grow a bit more of our audience on Instagram currently because it's just constantly changing the way that people are receiving their content or how they prefer to receive their content. So we do leverage on both of those. But typically people really engage with similar things on Instagram and Facebook for us, any time we put up anything with the family does really well or the sustainability. Um, so from that standpoint, my job is really easy because a lot of other companies really have to manufacture content because they don't have the story that we have. So it's great to have that background.

Rob: And so I guess looking forward at an Eastcoast, is there anything on the horizon that you see coming that, you know, excites and not thinking about in a few weeks when you've got your day on the farm, thinking more in terms of product innovation, any areas that if you're allowed to talk about them, where you see new products, new marketing ideas.

Emily: Yeah, there's there's definitely things that we're working towards for sure, not just in in relation to products, but also the factory itself. So we were lucky enough to receive a grant from the government. Um, that's going to really, really help us in expanding the factory. So there's a lot of expansion happening at the moment, which is going to mean, you know, more resources and more jobs for locals. So that's really exciting. And that's something that's just gotten off the ground. Um, right now, in terms of products, there's nothing really to close on the horizon right now. We're sort of at the moment toying with the idea of doing a little bit of a rebrand with, um, one of the products under the Eastcoast umbrella, which is called Jive. So we sort of have that out sort of trying to create a new label and change the design a little bit.

Rob: Oh.

Emily: But that's pretty much that's pretty much all we have on the horizon.

Rob: Turns out there's quite a few really strong products performing well for you, and, you know the adage, if ain't broke, don't fix it probably applies.

Emily: Definitely

Rob: Certainly

Emily: The.

Rob: The innovation at the factory is that driven towards maintaining or adapting to the growing capacity and being able to push out new lines or just more volume of product more efficiently.

Emily: Yeah, it's definitely going to assist in in having, you know, quicker production line, being able to produce more, um, it's definitely going to help with with that side of things, the production.

Rob: And I'm sure procurements very happy that we've had quite a decent growing season

Emily: Yeah.

Rob: Last 12 months compared to the the 12 months prior full of fires and floods and.

Emily: Yeah, it's actually looking pretty good right now, started just popping up everywhere and on trees, which is great because people are going to be able to pick oranges at day on the farm. So

Rob: That's very

Emily: It's really

Rob: Cool.

Emily: Good that there's going to be plenty to choose from.

Rob: And so we're going to try and actually get this out before day on the farm, which is coming up very, very soon. Can you give everyone the details about down the farm when it is where it is and how to find out more about it?

Emily: Sure, so it's at our factory, it's nine nine three George Downs Drive Canara, and it's on Sunday, June 13th, from 10 a.m. to four p.m. And if people want to find out more about it, they can head to our Facebook.

Rob: Amazing will post some links

Rob: Along with this episode and make sure everyone can find it. Emily

Rob: From Eastcoast. It's been an amazing chat today. Thanks so much for coming.

Emily: Thank you for having me.

Rob: Thank you. There you have it. I hope you really enjoyed this episode, and if you did, please like it, share it or leave us a review on your favorite platform. It helps us show more of this content to people just like you.

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