YOU probably wouldn’t expect to see a dairy factory right in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD, but just off Brunswick Street is a small, boutique dairy that supplies milk to hundreds of small businesses in the area.
While the business has built a lot of traction since it opened four years ago, Saint David Dairy owner Ben Evans said breaking into the already populated marketplace was no easy feat.
“You know that every cafe in Australia already has milk in it, so why would they choose yours?” Mr Evans said.
He said he soon came up with an answer to that question – ‘the story’.
“I liked the idea of having my own little factory, and when I moved to Melbourne, I realised people were starting to take a lot more notice in where their food was coming from.
“I just saw more and more boutique brands popping up, which gave me the idea that we might be able to start something in Melbourne,” he said.
They pick milk up from a dairy farm that is about 100 kilometres away from the factory, in Drouin.
“A lot of people ask questions about where the milk comes from, what the cows are fed, and what the practices are on the farm,” Mr Evans said.
“That was the last piece of the story.”
He said while the factory’s location might seem impractical, it’s been a good way to raise awareness.
“I think it was a point of interest in Fitzroy, to be right in front of people, and having them see the trucks pull up, and the milk pump in,” Mr Evans said.
“It would have given people a sense of where the milk in their coffee was coming from.
“The story and location got people interested enough to have a chat, but the milk had to stand up for itself in terms of quality.
“Part of the appeal is that the milk is not standardised.
“How the milk comes from the farm, is how it is put in the bottle.
“It means that at different times of the year, the milk might be slightly different.
“Other companies might try to flatten that out, but we prefer to do as little as possible to it.”