Donation helps to stem funding drough

Pic Granite Belt Cider representative Pat Coulson (centre) hands over the company’s donation to Russell Wantling under the watchful eye Katie Burton and Jess McWatt-Forbes from the Stockholm the Cider Co PR team and Stephen Tancred representing Rotary – who have been instrumental in helping with Water Relief charity.

By Tania Phillips

A cider company using Granite Belt apples for it’s products has donated back to the region to help those still being affected by drought.

Back in February Granite Belt Cider Company made a commitment to donate a percentage of the profits from every Treehouse Cider to a local charity – a commitment they honoured this week.

The company handed a donation $12,500 to Granite Belt Water Relief, the local not-for-profit organization delivering truckloads of fresh water and supplies to communities and farmers.

The donation was welcomed by Stanthorpe truck driver Russell Wantling, the man who began the charity 15 months ago with his wife SFT advertising manager Samantha.

“Because of Covid all of our donations dropped off and then we didn’t get our wet winter, we haven’t had much rain at all really, there’s a lot of people really desperate for water so this has really helped,” Russell said.

“All the rural people really appreciate what they’ve done. Granite Belt Cider is fantastic, you can’t describe it, a lot of people just haven’t got words to thank them.”

The charity has now been going 15 months and Russell said it was nice to still be getting support from businesses like the Cider Company because as much as there was rain at the weekend, the region is still not near where it should be when it comes to water.

“I live up on the catchment of Storm King Dam and there is nothing going in there at all – after all that rain there is no run-off to the dam yet,” he said.

“There might be a little bit going into some tanks, which is good and a lot of people are really aware of water these days. They don’t waste it anymore – there very good.

“We know that we have a bit of security for a bit longer thanks to donations like that from Granite Belt Cider.”

With $25 buying a 1000 litre pod and $500 purchasing a truckload of water which helps 20 families, the donation will purchase 500,000 litres of water trucked out to communities in the Granite Belt.

Sustainability Manager of Granite Belt Cider Co’s parent company, Fermentum, James Perrin said it only made sense to put a campaign in place to support the farms who support them.

“We only use Granite Belt apple juice in our ciders, so by giving water to local farmers who are severely drought affected, we’re helping to make sure they can keep growing great apples for generations to come, and ultimately keep their businesses afloat.

“Half the Granite Belt region isn’t connected to town water so they’re reliant on tank water and with minimal rainfall, that means the tanks are empty or near empty.”

Granite Belt Water Relief brings water in to their site’s holding tanks in Applethorpe so locals can pull up and fill their own containers and IBCs, free of charge, to take back to their farms.

To make a donation directly to Granite Belt Water Relief, visit their Facebook page at

Granite Belt Cider Co sources and crushes local apples from the cool, high country of Queensland’s Granite Belt region to make carefully crafted cider.