[email protected] finalist just keeps brewing

June 12, 2019

Good things have been brewing at Sobah since the non-alcoholic craft beer company became an Australian finalist in His Royal Highness the Duke of York’s [email protected] competition for entrepreneurs last year.

Aboriginal-owned, and with a tradition of using native Indigenous products in its beer range, Sobah is the brainchild of Clinton Schultz, alongside wife Lozen.

The Gamilaroi man is Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Health at Bond University and was one of three 2019 [email protected] finalists with links to the university.

While Sobah has had a footprint on the Gold Coast for some time, producing a range of non-alcoholic beers including a Lemon Aspen Pilsner, Finger Lime Cerveza and Pepperberry IPA, they’re now looking to upscale and broaden their product base.

A private share sale has just concluded, selling off 16 per cent of the company to several investors, bringing in around $160,000.

Asst Prof Schultz said although the injection of funding was important to Sobah’s future expansion plans, just as important was ensuring their new business partners shared their philosophy of supporting charity and giving back to the community.

“That was the biggest thing for us in seeking investment, ensuring that we’d be able to maintain the ethos of the business and attract people that agreed with that, particularly the social enterprise side,” he said.

“At the end of the day, the whole aim behind Sobah is far more important to us than individual aims.”

One of Sobah’s new investors hails from the Gold Coast but is currently working as a chief executive in Sydney. After selling their business, their intention is to move home, and Asst Prof Schultz is hopeful of them taking over Sobah’s general management to help drive the company forward and take some of the pressure off himself and Lozen so they can focus on the areas of the business best suited to their skills and interests.

“We’ve made sure that anyone that’s invested can bring something more than just their wallet. We wanted people with certain experiences,” Asst Prof Schultz said.

The changes to Sobah’s ownership structure are designed to help ensure the continued growth of a company which has already expanded from brewing 2000 litres to 30,000 litres of beer per batch.

Sobah is aiming to produce 1000 cartons a month, based on the turnover from their customer base, however they expect demand to surge once they begin exporting their products. They’ve had expressions of interest from as far afield as the UK, US, Japan, Philippines, and India.

Assistant Professor Schultz has recently refined the recipes for Sobah’s three core range beers, including moving away from using malt extracts to an all-grain brew.

The core range is now being produced on a much larger scale at Tribe Brewing Partners in Goulburn, while small batches and pilot brews will continue to be produced at Pickled Pig Brewery in Tweed Heads.

The first new product to be added to the Sobah range will be a Davidson Plum Gluten Free Sour, expected to hit the market by spring, following frequent requests for gluten free beers or ciders.

Sobah’s expansion coincides with [email protected] returning to Australia next month.

The [email protected] On Tour Gold Coast event will again be held at Bond University on July 19, with the national final in Perth later this year.

The national winners of the start-up competition, which is open to all Australian citizens over the age of 18, will be flown to London to pitch their winning idea at St James's Palace in the global final.

Founded by The Duke of York in 2014, [email protected] has helped 785 start-up businesses and created 3, 110 new jobs.

 Pitch @ Palace Australia 3.0 has a broad technology theme and will discover entrepreneurs that have identified opportunities in the following areas:

  • Agriculture, Energy and Renewable Technology
  • Business and Consumer Products and Services
  • Consumer and Industrial IoT
  • Cyber Security, Data Management and Analytics
  • Fintech and Blockchain
  • Health, Fitness and Medical Technology
  • Media and Educational Technology
  • Robotic, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality

It costs nothing for entrepreneurs to apply, and applications are now open but be quick, entries close on 21 June 2019.

Start-ups at all stages are encouraged to apply for this year’s [email protected], from idea on paper through to commercial enterprises.

The [email protected] 3.0 Australian tour will be at Bond University on 19 July 2019.

Last year, three Bondies made the national finals.

For more information and to apply, click here.