SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
September 28, 2023

Squeezy EVOO hits Adelaide

Alec Randall is spreading the local love with his handy squeeze-bottle extra virgin olive oil brand, It’s Olio.

  • Words by Sarah Herrmann
  • Photos are supplied

The kitchen was Alec Randall’s worst nightmare until he visited Sicily.

When his day of wine tours fell through, Alec and his partner stumbled upon a cooking class.

“The instructor there took us on a tour around Taormina and some other little spots where we were staying in Sicily, and just sort of taught us where all their produce is from and how it all operates, and then showed us how to turn that into amazing, fresh food,” Alec says.

“And I was like ‘Wow, this is actually so much fun and not as scary as I thought.’”

But the clincher was when the restaurants put the food they made on the table for other tourists to sample.

“Which would’ve scared the shit out of me had I known that – he didn’t tell us until after,” Alec says.

Alec also noticed that on every restaurant table sat olio (olive oil), and he bought so much that he wasn’t allowed to bring it all back on the plane.

The habit continued when he returned to South Australia.

“I just started dropping a stupid amount of money on olive oil,” Alec says.

A designer by trade, Alec put some of his oil in a squeeze bottle and put a cool label on it for fun.

“A friend was like ‘Oh that’s cool, make me one’ and I was like ‘yeah sure’ and then my mum was like ‘Oh make me one’ and I was like ‘for sure’,” he says of the beginnings of his brand.

“I was like, oh OK, people like this, so why not have a crack at doing it for everyone?”

The final label design of first product Mr Olio (“Mr Olio is meant to be like me: tall, lanky and a bit goofy, just picking around the olives,” Alec says) is designed by friend and local designer Boe Carr.

Alec tells CityMag he wanted to represent the product’s Italian holiday origins in “a fun, playful way”, emulating a “pét nat and natural wine vibe”– a nod to his self-professed wine snobbery.

The contents, meanwhile, are sourced from a family-owned McLaren Vale grove.

“It’s not so much just like buying it and packing it,” he says. “It’s going down there, learning about it and choosing what suits you best.

“For this first launch and what I hope to do is remain super fresh and super high quality and being transparent: what is coming out of the ground and coming out of the olives is going straight into the bottle.

“We can choose how long it stays on the grove or how long it stays in the tank, and mine’s quite young and fresh, which gives it a more fresh and herbaceous taste and quite – it can be a bit scary to people – it’s a bit peppery and has a bit of body and oomph behind it.

“It also gives it a gorgeous colour when it pours out when it’s a bit younger.”

His enthusiasm for South Australian produce stems from his time working in a bottle shop, where his manager had “a heavy emphasis on supporting local”.

“Every week I’d get in winemakers trying to sell their own wine and it was just so nice, these people having these passion projects,” Alec says.

“It’s something that’s just stuck with me.”

Alec chose squeeze bottles because he had trouble getting local distributors and manufacturers to even reply to his requests for collaboration.

So, the founder turned to the cheaper alternative and trending plastic squeeze-bottle.

“It’s more fun, it’s more convenient, it doesn’t break, and hopefully it will be made from 100 per cent recycled plastics,” he says.

He is also planning a refill process through pouches and eventually in a wholefoods store.

It’s Olio’s first product Mr Olio is available now at selected stockists and online.

Share —