Local fruit growers take off with vinegar

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Local fruit growers take off with vinegar

Locally grown fruit blended with vinegar is taking off as a popular alternative to alcohol and providing an additional source of income for producers in Queensland's Granite Belt region.

Drinking vinegar has been popular for hundreds of years but it is now experiencing a revival, even though it was once used as a 17th century scurvy cure.

Our grandparents used to drink vinegar as a form of medicine, so you know to take away hiccups and all sorts of things, producer Justin Fawdon said.

Fawdon owns Budburst Australia, which began infusing its leftover apricots and plums with vinegar earlier in the year.

Stone fruit growers were able to reduce waste with damaged fruit tasting just as sweet when mixed with vinegar.

Once picked, it is left to infuse with the vinegar for around 10 weeks before being filtered.

Fawdon said the drink was carving out a new niche market.

As we have continued to do these markets and things and festivals, we're sort of saying there's a group of people.

It varies but generally it's sort of mid-30 s, mostly ladies. Amy Armstrong made a business out of reviewing non-alcoholic beverages after she decided to abstain from liquor in December 2020.

She said that vinegar could satisfy the need for an adult drink that didn't taste like a soft drink or wine.

It's becoming more mainstream now and these are great because people can play around with them at home and you can mix it as you want and it's not just a soft drink, it's an adult drink with complexity and depth of flavour, she said.

She said that alternatives have grown exponentially over the last couple of years.

Ms Armstrong said the vinegar drink was officially called a shrub and has had a place in high end restaurants for a while. She said they've been doing non-alcoholic pairing menus for a while.

There is a place for them which is exciting. At Jeff Brady's Korean Japanese restaurant in Toowoomba, his Korean sweet drinking vinegar is in high demand.

It comes in a variety of flavours like pomegranate and blueberry.

The vinegar we know is Korean, which is drunk for enjoyment, but it also has a supposed variety of health benefits, and it is catching on in Australia for the taste, he said.

We introduced it seven or so years ago as it is a nice alternative to soda water mixed as a mocktail and it's recently become more popular.

It's an increasing category in the hospitality world.