New Zealand’s oldest home-grown soft drink manufacturer, Wests NZ Ltd, has been offered for sale, on behalf of its owners Kaye and Alf Loretan.
Bayleys Real Estate Dunedin commercial sales and leasing agent Nick Lucas is selling the Wests business and premises at 135 Bay View Road, together or separately, by negotiation.
Wests was founded in Dunedin in 1876 – the same year but a few months before the Dunedin Speights Brewery.
It is the oldest continuous soft drink and cordial manufacturer in New Zealand. It has a rich history, and over time has evolved from a general grocer to making brewed beer, alcoholic cider and hopped ginger beer.
It moved to St Kilda, South Dunedin in 1914, and over the years successive owners have modernised and grown the business. Today it is a thriving enterprise supplying its beverages to customers nation-wide.
Many Kiwis will be familiar with unique Wests drinks such as Pineapple and Pear, Hot Lemon, Cola and Raspberry, and Chocolade.
Wests is also known for its iconic cordials such as Cloves and Sarsaparilla, amongst many others, as well as its wide range of soda syrups, slushies, milkshake flavours and post mix syrups for hotels and restaurants.
Wests also has New Zealand’s biggest range of sugar-free soft drinks and syrups, suitable or diabetics and people looking to cut down on sugar.
In addition, Wests custom-makes products for special orders, for example bulk ginger beer syrup for local breweries, and coffee syrups.
The 820 square metre factory on a 672sqm land parcel is laid out over two levels includes a factory shop, offices, staff amenities, and a manufacturing facility.
The factory combines production lines for soft drinks and cordials, as well as a plastic bottle blow mould machine and areas for storage and despatch.
Owners since 2007, the Loretans have streamlined the business, which has become much easier to manage. The manufacturing process has been made less labour- intensive and more efficient.
Around five years ago, prompted by a supply problem, a new blow mould machine was purchased and commissioned on-site, and now produces all bottles needed by the factory.
This major investment proved to be a god-send, and has made the business much more robust.
Alf Loretan said the factory process and business operations were not complicated and should not be daunting to a new owner.
He, like previous owners, including Wests founder, came from very different backgrounds. Until around three years ago, the shop included an alcohol off-licence, but this became non-compliant with new liquor licensing policy. As a result, the business has been simplified to its core function of a drinks manufacturer.
The business employs seven loyal and highly skilled salt-of-the-earth staff who have been working for the company for many years.
Wests embraces modern marketing methods, including a website with an on-line ordering facility, and has an active Facebook page. It frequently engages with the community via donations, sponsorships and radio campaigns.
Mr Lucas said Wests was ready to continue its exciting historical journey with a new owner.