Seeing where Speight's Gold Medal Ale is made are (from left) Lion New Zealand supply chain director George Bearzot, Lion New Zealand managing director Rory Glass, Dunedin List MP Michael Woodhouse, Prime Minister John Key and Lion New Zealand chief executive officer Stuart Irvine at the newly refurbished Speight's Brewery, in Dunedin. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Prime Minister John Key has held Dunedin's Speight's Brewery
up as a shining example of the country's return to economic
He officially opened Lion Brewery's refurbished Speight's
Brewery in Dunedin yesterday, following a three-year, $40
million upgrade project.
The Rattray St site now houses a new state-of-the-art
15,000-litre 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 was also carried out on all the
existing buildings to ensure the site is future-proofed.
The brewery will now have a brewing capacity of more than 24
million litres per year and will operate five days a week,
employing 27 permanent brewery staff - a significant increase
on the team of 11 before the redevelopment.
Mr Key told about 200 guests attending, it was good to see
Dunedin in such ''great heart''.
''This is the third opening we've been to today.
''This is a great example of the investment that is going
into the regions ... and you can see from the consumer
confidence and business confidence numbers that New
Zealanders are feeling much more optimistic about the future,
and I think with very good reason.
''[Speight's] is at the forefront of that.
''Today is a great celebration, not just for Lion and for
Speight's, but for Dunedin.''
''This is the heart of beer making in New Zealand and number
one in the hearts of beer drinkers in New Zealand.''
Mr Key said much of the success of the redevelopment was down
to foreign investment, and praised Lion Brewery's Japanese
parent company Kirin Holdings for its investment in Dunedin.
''They [foreign investors] have actually been very good for
New Zealand. They've got deep pockets. They've made huge
financial investments in New Zealand and that creates jobs
and opportunities for New Zealanders.
''And Kirin is very dedicated to the New Zealand market.
''They've invested enormously around the country and that has
been for the benefit of all of us.
''You've got a good parent, a very good company in Lion and a
great beer - number one in New Zealand - with Speight's.''
Lion chief executive officer Stuart Irvine said the project
was the second-largest capital investment Lion had made in
New Zealand, and demonstrated the company's ongoing devotion
to Dunedin and the South Island.
''We've been a part of Dunedin and New Zealand for around 150
years and the reopening of the Speight's Brewery today helps
set us on course for the next 100,'' Mr Irvine said.
''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
Mr Irvine said 80% of the $40 million budget had been spent
locally, bringing welcome business to innumerable South
Island and Dunedin firms.
The remainder was spent offshore procuring specialist brewing
equipment that could not be sourced in New Zealand.
''This project has reinvigorated the Speight's Brewery and
enabled us to ensure it remains iconic and leading-edge for
years to come.''