Lucas Papaw, Blackmores and Bundaberg Ginger Beer
SuZhou Night Recruitment

Lucas Papaw, Blackmores and Bundaberg Ginger Beer

Lucas’ Papaw, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Blackmores. If not household items, these brands are certainly easy to find in pharmacies and supermarkets across .

All three businesses are still family owned.

Their number of employees range from 30 to more than 1000, but John McLean, chief executive of famous ginger beer brewer Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, said larger didn’t always mean more important.

“You’d be stunned at what is a family business,” Mr McLean said.

“They are the engine room of our economy: they may not get the publicity constantly that the ASX-listed companies get, but family business is the bread and butter.”

Here’s how these once small Queensland businesses grew to have international profiles.???It got a cult following and just went crazy’

Lucas’ Papaw is instantly recognisable for its red packaging. Today it’s most commonly used for chapped lips, but manager Lynette Swinglehurst said that’s not how the ointment was originally marketed.

“It’s always been one of those staples in our medicine cabinet ??? we used to only sell into chemists,” she said.

Since its invention in the early 1900s by Ms Swinglehurst’s great-great-grandfather, Lucas’ Papaw has been used predominantly as a treatment for rashes, burns and other aches and pains.

Never advertised much – when her grandmother May Talbot ran the business, Ms Swinglehurst said it was sold door-to-door – the product became hugely popular after another use for the ointment was found.

“About 15 years ago it was used – and I still remember the phone call – used by a make-up artist on McLeod’s Daughters,” she said.

“She rang me and said it was good for keeping eyebrows in place and gloss on lips.”

Ms Swinglehurst said she was “blown away” by the product’s cosmetic use, and how it then took off.

“Before we knew it, it just turned into this ‘thing’. It got a cult following and just went crazy,” she said.

“Half the people buying it probably don’t realise it has this medicinal purpose as well.”

With requests to put Lucas’ Papaw in a tube, the family started off with a second-hand tube-filling machine before realising, quite quickly, that was not going to keep up with the demand.

“At that stage, we only really had it in pharmacies,” she said.


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