How $99 pizza turned into $280k for an Aussie pickle company

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news, national, Dillicious, gherkins, pickles, James and Liza Barbour, Funlab, pizza, crowdfunding, Laurie Land

An Australian pickle company has raised more than $282,000 from a crowdfunding exercise involving a $99 pizza. Well, sort of. Melbourne-based Dillicious produces American-style preserved pickles which are stocked by more than 400 wholesale customers throughout Australia, including Coles Local, Costco, Bar Luca, Easeys and Veggie Bar. Recent approaches from big names in the food industry pushed the company to increase production capacity which required new manufacturing equipment and a larger facility. It opted for an equity crowdfunding campaign… involving pizza. Dillicious struck a creative partnership between Funlab, the company behind indoor venues such as Strike Bowling, Holey Moley, Red Herring and Archie Brothers, which saw investors who put in a minimum investment of $99 receive a free, pickle-laden classic cheese pizza. Dillicious’ equity crowdfunding campaign opened with a flying start. It hit the minimum target of $100,000 within the first 10 hours. At the close of the offer on June 30, 242 investors had contributed a total of $282,518. Dillicious was co-founded by James and Liza Barbour after the couple noted an absence of quality American-style pickles on Aussie shelves. With available alternatives largely grown and produced overseas, the Barbours sensed an opening in the market. According to Dillicious co-founder and general manager James Barbour the appetite for the premium, Aussie-made pickles was not slowing down. “Our aspirations for Dillicious are not small. To spread the pickle power even further we need to make our pickles accessible to everyone – on shelves in more retail stores and served by even more commercial kitchens,” Mr Barbour said. Mr Barbour said the business was excited to offer the opportunity to customers and the public to become a part of the journey as shareholders. The new facility is expected to not only boost production numbers but also help keep jobs and production on Australian soil and continue to support the growth of the local food manufacturing industry. Starting from humble beginnings on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 2018, Dillicious has now made and sold more than 1 million pickles. The brinery is now located in Moorabbin, Victoria. The business began when James (an American) met Liza (an Australian) while volunteering in the Kingdom of Tonga. A decade on and they have two children and are the third-largest producer of Aussie-made pickles. Dillicious pickles are currently stocked by more than 150 retailers in Australia and Singapore and are used by more than 250 restaurants, cafes, pubs and convention centres Australia-wide. Dillicious pickles have an authentic American taste and are proudly made using premium local ingredients. The pickles, or kirby cucumbers (gherkins), are sourced from Queensland growers, including Land Family Farms in Gumlu, north Queensland. “Our cucumbers are all grown on Queensland farms. Other than our spices, all our ingredients are from Aussie producers,” Mr Barbour said. Mr Barbour said using the pickle-loaded pizza allowed the shareholders to taste the “Dilliciousness” for themselves. Funlab’s executive head chef, Dan Child, said the partnership with Dillicious was important to the company. “Funlab is committed to using high quality, sustainable and attainable local produce in our menu at Rando Sandos,” Mr Child said. “The current pandemic has highlighted that our customers really do care that we’re supporting local food businesses. “In 2020, we teamed up with Dillicious, and their delicious pickles are now featured on our menus across Australia.”

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