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Prime Minister Opens Redeveloped Speight’s Brewery

25 February 2014

Media Statement

Prime Minister Opens Redeveloped Speight’s Brewery

The Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key, has today officially opened Lion’s refurbished Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin following a three year, $40m upgrade project.

Speaking to around 200 guests at the opening, Rory Glass, Managing Director Lion NZ, said it is almost three years ago to the day, that Lion was forced to make some tough decisions in the wake of the Canterbury Earthquake but the end result now satisfies all the functional outcomes Lion was looking for.

“With the loss of Canterbury Brewery, overnight Speight’s became our second largest brewery in New Zealand. With that came new, significantly larger production requirements and complexities that Speight’s just wasn’t geared up to deal with. Whichever way we looked at it, the brewery had to be redesigned to meet our needs.

“Preserving the history of this unique site was a big focus throughout the project. Despite the challenges, the re-development has given us a great opportunity to replicate some of the world class manufacturing practices from Lion’s other breweries as well as improving our service to South Island customers and enhancing the working environment for our people,” he said.

Stuart Irvine, Lion CEO, says the project was the second largest capital investment Lion has made in New Zealand and demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to Dunedin and the South Island.

“We’ve been a part of Dunedin and New Zealand for around 150 years and the re-opening of the Speight’s Brewery today helps set us on course for the next 100.

“Redeveloping a site like this is one thing, but maintaining a full production programme while plant and equipment are moved around requires equal measures of genius, resilience and teamwork.

This project has reinvigorated the Speight's Brewery and enabled us to ensure it remains iconic and leading edge for years to come,” said Mr Irvine.

Mr Irvine said that 80% of the $40m budget had been spent locally, bringing welcome business to innumerable South Island and Dunedin businesses. The remainder was spent off-shore procuring specialist brewing equipment that cannot be sourced in New Zealand.

The new look Speight’s Brewery, which still occupies the same site on Rattray St it has had since 1876, now houses a new state-of-the-art 150Hl brew house, a multi-purpose tank farm, new refrigeration plant and upgraded boilers, new sales and operations offices as well as the keg and Maltexo plants which were relocated from Christchurch. Seismic strengthening work has also been carried out on all the existing buildings to ensure the site is future proofed.

The brewery will now have a brewing capacity in excess of 24 million litres per year and will operate 5 days a week employing 27 permanent brewery people - a significant increase on the team of 11 before the redevelopment.

Brewing began from new brew house back in October 2013.


Notes for Editor – History of Speight’s Brewery:

The Speight’s Brewery has been part of the Dunedin community since 1876 when James Speight, Charles Greenslade and William Dawson resigned from the Well Park Brewery and set up a new brewery in a redundant building in Rattray Street, which had previously served as a bottling house and malt house for the Well Park.

Speight’s Ale was first brewed on 4 April that same year and by 1880 was winning gold medals at International Exhibitions, hence the name Speight’s Gold Medal Ale.

By 1887, Speight’s brewery was the biggest brewery in New Zealand exporting throughout Australia and the Pacific. With this growth came expansion - first across the road then up the road - it wasn’t long before “the Pride of the South” had become one of New Zealand’s most loved beers.

The Speight’s Brewery has undergone a number of transformations in its time but this latest $40million re-development project, which came as a result of the loss of Lion’s Canterbury Brewery in the 2011 earthquake, provides a unique opportunity to ensure the Speight’s Brewery remains iconic in Dunedin for years to come.

© Scoop Media

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