Anthony Paech - Beerenberg Farm



A successful family business, much like a farm, depends on having strong, well-developed roots. If it can hark back to its historic origins while staying relevant with the times, it can ensure it stays on the path to success now and into the future.

That perhaps explains how Anthony Paech, Managing Director of Australian FMCG firm Beerenberg Farm, has helped the iconic household name reach the level of success that it is at today.

  • Staying modern and relevant - but faithful to tradition
  • Branding revamp
  • Recognising the business's place in the wider scheme of things

The challenge:

Keeping the Beerenberg tradition alive in a fast-changing world

The Paech family, of whom Anthony represents the sixth generation, originally hails from Germany. In 1838, Anthony's forefathers settled on the outskirts of Hahndorf - Australia's oldest German town - and wasted no time in establishing the now famous Beerenberg Farm.

Anthony took on the reins as managing director in 1988, and he continues to oversee operations with the able assistance of his brother and sister.

Under Anthony's leadership, Beerenberg Farm has expanded into a global operation, with 20 per cent of its products being exported. These can now be found all over the world, from Australian supermarket chains to five-star hotels and airlines.

Despite its impressive growth over the years, Anthony recognises the importance of keeping faith in the business's history. For example, through its unique Beerenberg Foundation, it ensures that the natural heritage of the Hahndorf region - a tourist destination and a crucial factor in Beerenberg Farm's success - is protected.

'The fact that we've been able to piggyback on the appeal of Hahndorf has been very important, and we like to give back through the foundation to preserve the cultural heritage of Hahndorf, and the 'Germanness' of it,' he says.

However, keeping those cultural roots alive, while still trying to position the company as a local, homemade brand, has always been a tricky balancing act. According to Anthony, this was one of the main reasons behind the company's recent, and very successful, rebranding operation.

The action:

A major branding revamp - with the help of  TEC

In addition to its role in his executive development, Anthony reveals that TEC also played an instrumental role in the company's rebranding.

[su_quote]The name Beerenberg and the font were very German, and a lot of people thought we were imported. We wanted to be more modern, natural and Australian-looking,[/su_quote]

There were other factors as well. The branding had stayed much the same for the best part of 40 years, and Anthony thought it was time to freshen things up.

'You want to stay true to the label and branding, of course, but at the same time the rest of the world moves on and you have to keep up. I think we were becoming less relevant to the modern consumer, and that was what motivated the change.'

The rebranding focused on assigning each product in Beerenberg Farm's line to a prominent staff member and telling their unique 'story' on the label, bringing a whole new level of personality. This was especially important as according to Anthony, "our products on the shelves are ultimately a reflection of who we are, as people".

The results:

A refreshed brand and expert leadership advice

Regardless of how Beerenberg positions itself, it's hard not to fall in love with the brand. The awards it has won over the years are as numerous as the strawberry trees that line the farm, and are testament to the respect it garners from the wider business community.

In addition to winning the 2011 Telstra Business Awards, Beerenberg Farm has been a finalist in the SA Food Industry Awards  and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. It has also been named in the Family Business Association Hall of Fame and most recently Anthony received the Bickfords Australia Leader Award at the 2015 SA Food Industry Awards.

Being named one of South Australia's 50 most influential people in food and wine was also another personal highlight for Anthony.

'It's very nice to be recognised that way. South Australia's a small place and we all need to work together - we don't compete in the same way as they do in other, bigger states,' he says.

It's also helped remind him of the important role he plays in the grand scheme of things.

[su_quote]I think my contribution as part of the family business is just to be a steward of the land. One of the advantages of being in a family business is we're here for the long term, it's more than just making money.[/su_quote]

Of course, Anthony also values the innumerable lessons he has learnt throughout his time with TEC.

'Over that time, I've had a lot of good ideas, not only from speakers but also from other members. It's really good to hear about what other people are facing and how they're solving problems,' he says.

'Sometimes you need an independent voice that can tell it straight like it is.'