SUMMERTIME Fruit Juice has stamped out growing speculation the local bottling plant is in a dire financial condition.
Some local stockists have been unable to source Summertime products in 2014.
The owner of Rossie’s Foodworks Tony Jones has been trying in vain to sell the locally produced juice.
“We used to stock Summertime fruit juice but we can’t get it and we haven’t been able to get it all year,” Mr Jones said.
“We normally fax an order off or ring them up and make an order over the phone, but they haven’t had any juice.
“Summertime has been responding to the effect that they haven’t had any juice all year,” he said.
A lawyer representing the juice company, Dan Tresise, has blamed the anomalies on necessary upgrades ahead of major new contracts.
The in-house council for beverage producer Private Branded Beverages Limited, the parent company of the Summertime Fruit Juice brand, said the rumour and speculation was simply a matter of crossed wires.
“We’ve closed for maintenance because we have to upgrade two lines as we’ve got several major tenders coming up and we have to get the factory right before then,” Mr Tresise said.
“We’ve only stopped a week or two ago and we’ll be doing maintenance for a few more weeks.
“We have been producing up until a few weeks ago.
“The casual staff have gone because you can’t do much with them while the place is under maintenance.”
The secretary of Griffith and District Citrus Growers Vito Mancini said a strong local bottling industry was pivotal to the sustained success of Griffith citrus growers.
“Summertime has been a major part of the citrus industry of the Riverina for a long time,” Mr Mancini said.
“Growers are keen to see the future development of the Summertime brand and site.
“Competition within the processing sector is fierce and we welcome all competition to help drive the industry further.”