Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Import Concerns, Loans Write-Off, Crabbie's Back & Big Kahuna

Australian ginger farmers will be meeting this week to discuss a report which recommends the import of fresh ginger rhizomes from Fiji. According to The Weekly Times, it appears that the farmers are not necessarily concerned about the competition but more about the possibility that the imports could introduce exotic pests and diseases into the country. If the Australian government does allow imports, the ginger will have to pass a number of stringent tests and abide by certain conditions. Naturally, the ginger will have to be free from soil and any other visible foreign matter. Once harvested, the ginger must be inspected and certified by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji. And finally, the ginger must be acceptable to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The Press Association revealed that Tesco stores in Scotland will stock the latest offering from Mackintosh of Glendaveny - a ginger flavoured rapeseed oil. That could be interesting. Ginger flavoured chips perhaps.

Last year, Crabbie's became one of Everton Football Club's official partners. The drinks company has announced on the club's website that it will be back for the start of the new season this coming weekend with the popular Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer and the newly rebranded John Crabbie's Cloudy Ginger Beer.

The Guardian from Nigeria carried an interview with Dr.Gloria Elemo, the Director-General of the Nigerian Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO). When asked what technological initiatives the institute has undertaken, Dr.Elemo responded with a number of examples including some ginger developments. The domestic production of ginger powder under the institute's guidance has reduced imports which has resulted in a corresponding saving in foreign exchange. And the production of ginger oleoresin (a naturally occurring mixture of resin and essential oil) has the potential, it is believed, to stimulate the rural economy.

Stone's Ginger Punch is now available for a limited period in 250ml cans decorated with the Union flag. The drink is a mix of ginger wine and lemonade (source: Packaging Europe).

The Indian state of Karnataka is normally one of the country's major ginger growing regions. I say "normally" because this year many parts of the state have been hit by a drought. For some unknown reason the monsoons decided to give this state a miss. To help ginger farmers (and producers of vanilla and arecanut), the repayment of up to Rs25,000 of loans has been waived. But, according to the Deccan Herald, the state government has been urged to waive all farm loans.

The Canadian Beer News announced that Vancouver-based Granville Island Brewing's Ginger Beer is returning again for the summer only. The 5.0% abv beer is brewed with malt, hops, yeast and Big Kahuna ginger from Hawaii.

Big Kahuna is an organic white ginger which is ideally suited to Hawaii. It has been widely distributed to growers throughout North America. But I did notice earlier this year that East Branch Ginger, a major ginger 'seed' supplier from Pittsboro in North Carolina, stopped supplying Big Kahuna for this season and replaced it with another Hawaiian organic variety called Da Kine Ruhi. This replacement variety differs from Big Kahuna in that it has yellow tips. Yellow in ginger indicates a high level of curcumin, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Diabetes Control, Ski On Ginger Beer, New Facility & Business Opportunity

A number of sources, including Australia's Sunshine Coast Daily, have reported the interesting news that ginger could help to control the blood sugar levels which create problems for long-term diabetics. A three-year study, conducted by the University of Sydney, found that ginger can increase the uptake of glucose into the muscle cells without the need for insulin. The ginger for the research was provided by Buderim Ginger from the neighbouring state of Queensland. (Additional source:

The UK Trade & Investment website is advertising a requirement from a Japanese importer who is interested in sourcing ready-to-drink (RTD) soft drinks such as ginger ale, fizzy apple juice and herb drinks from a UK supplier. The deadline is 31/10/12.

It is the time of the year for flu vaccinations in New Zealand. But stuff has reported that tradional flu remedies have been flying off the shelves on South Island. Supermarkets are reporting an increase in sales of ginger, lemon and garlic as people take additional or alternative precautions.

Still in New Zealand and a report in the Otago Daily Times. The US winter Olympic ski team has based itself in Queenstown for the southern hemisphere winter. I particularly enjoyed the comment from Tim Jitloff: "The first thing I go for is a ginger beer and a meat pie." Hmm. Heaven.

Over to Australia and Jägermeister, the German 35% abv digestif, is launching a new RTD on the domestic market, according to The Shout. Jägermeister Ginger Lime is a blend of Jägermeister, ginger root and fresh lime. The launch follows last year's successful introduction of Jägermeister & Ginger Beer.

The Hindu Business Line reports that ginger farmers in the Indian state of Kerala will be eagerly awaiting a new development. The state government has announced that it will set up an integrated spice processing facility with a capacity to process 7.5 tonnes of fresh ginger a day. Four tonnes will be marketed as cleaned and waxed ginger with the remainder being used to produce both ginger powder and ginger oil. The need for this new facility has been justified on the grounds that harvesting coincides with the rainy season which means that sun-drying is not an option.

I do like The Fiji Times coverage of ginger. One day it could be about the importance of exports to Australia and the next day it could be about selling at local markets. Last year, the Fijian Ministry of Agriculture introduced a scheme to reduce the level of ginger imports. The scheme involves, amongst other things, encouraging new entrants to the world of ginger farming. One such farmer has just been featured in The Fiji Times and he appears to be a very happy man after his first year.

But there are some Fijian ginger farmers who are not so happy. The Fiji Times reported last week that some farmers can produce a good crop but cannot afford to send it to market as the cost of transportation is to high. Something for the government to think about.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ginger Beer, Ginger-Spiced Beer, Ginger Lager & Ginger Cider

If you think that his post seems like a drinks special, believe me, it is unintentional. There has just been a lot of drink-related activity recently.

The Brew Star brewery from Morpeth in Northumberland recently conducted a trial brew of Ginger & Fig Porter. No news yet on whether it will make a reappearance.

Gosling Brothers has launched its Stormy Ginger Beer on the UK on-trade market to create the definitive Dark ‘n Stormy, Bermuda’s official national drink. So next time you go to the pub you can ask for the real thing. And if the landlord doesn't have it, threaten to take your custom elsewhere! (Source:

If you live in New Zealand you'll be pleased to hear the latest news about Monteith's Brewery Company. Stuff reports that the Greymouth brewery has re-opened following a one year, $4 million refurbishment. Once the new bottling plant is up and running, production of a new beer, an alcoholic ginger beer, will commence.

The Times of Oman reports that Caribou Coffee, a leading US coffee chain, has launched three new iced teas in Oman with the most popular among Omanis being Lemon Ginger Pomegranate. That doesn't come as a surprise as ginger is widely used in the country.

A new beer has been launched by Jack's Abby Brewing from Massachusetts - Ginger & Juice. This lager beer is brewed with pureed ginger, grapefruit juice and peel, buckwheat and hops. This isn't the only ginger and grapefruit lager that I've found. Shiner Ruby Redbird, from the Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, uses red grapefruit.

Okanagan Premium Cider from British Columbia in Canada has added an innovative new flavour to its popular range, according to the Kelowna Capital News. The new flavour is Ginger Apple and it contains locally grown apples. I imagine that the ginger is imported.

I've found that ginger beers can have quirky names just like real ales. The latest I have encountered is Pigs Arse Chilli Ginger Beer from Irish Murphy in Brisbane. I know absolutely nothing about this beer; can someone help?

And finally, what do you make of this article in IOL? Hakanoa, the ginger beer maker from Auckland in New Zealand, ran an advertising campaign which referred to red-haired children as "ginger spawn". The press release accompanying the campaign said: "They say children are a blessing, but it's fair to say no parent sets out wanting a ginger child". It continued: "So ginger-beer maker Hakanoa has given those parents unfortunate enough to be cursed with ginger children the opportunity to swap them for something they will want". The campaign caused outrage. But Hakanoa responded a couple of days ago on Facebook by stating that the company did not create the ad. It was created by ginger-haired parents of ginger-haired children. These parents, who work in advertising, were concerned at the bullying their children suffered. Hakanoa and The Little Grocer (where you could collect the ginger beer) agreed to front the ad as a way of raising the issue. What do you think of it? Has it worked?