Asia flocks to taste Alice’s sorbet

AFTER almost two decades of exciting the tastebuds of ice cream and sorbet lovers in WA, Alice’s is on the verge of converting Asia.

Two years ago international chef cum ice cream maker Lothar Flock extraordinaire signed a deal with a Singapore company to supply his Alice’s brand ice creams and sorbets produced at his WA Wangara factory.

The success in Singapore saw the market expand into Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei.

In a separate deal recently signed he now has a joint arrangement with a health food retail chain in Taiwan for sorbets.

The Alice sorbet was launched there with a triumphant display of red banners outside all the stores declaring the very best from Australia was now available in Taiwan.

Mr Flock is now seeking a joint partner in China and Korea, has deleted Japan from his market interests having wasted $35,000 on trying to set up a partnership in that country, and thinks he may even-tually have to take on a partner for the WA operation.

“I haven’t had a holiday since we launched in 1985,” he said this week. “If the export part of the business con-tinues to grow we will have to expand the factory and install new equipment.

“I have another 1000 square metres of land and so we have the space. But I am only one person, with a secretary who spends three days a week doing government form-filling including GST, and four employees.”

He says he starts at 7am and works between nine and 12 hours a day, five days a week.

His only relaxation is flying

a single-engine aircraft on weekends.

“In the next year or so I will have to make a decision about these kinds of things,” he said.

“The company is growing and is successful.”

It is a long way since Mr Flock started making sorbet for Qantas in his home.

Trained as a five-star hotel chef in Switzerland, where making sorbet and ice cream is part of the skills, he came to Australia and worked for Qantas in light catering for five years.

During this time a request came through from Singapore Airlines for a pink grapefruit sorbet.

“Qantas said they couldn’t do it,” he said.

“So I said I would try. I made a sample at home and Singapore Airlines was delighted with it.”

So the first Alice product was born. For the next year he continued to make the sorbet at home and supply it to Qantas who in turn supplied it to Singapore Airlines.

With the sorbet sales building he opted to go out on his own and make sorbets and premium ice creams.

He bought land in Wangara, built a factory equipped with Italian ice cream making equipment and negotiated to buy top grade milk (9.5% milk solid, 4.2% milk fat) from a dairy farmer in the South-West.

The milk is delivered daily using his own milk tanker. Within an hour of arriving at Wangara the milk is pasteurised and homogenised

A string of awards holds testimony to his success over several years.

His initial market continued to be Qantas, but he quickly added Claremont Fresh markets.

His reputation spread through the western suburbs, and then from there leap-frogged into all major supermarket chains in WA.

Ice cream sales dominated his business but the sorbet that launched him in WA is now taking him into the international market.

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