New brewery lifts Lion's stake in city

An artist's impression of Emerson's new brewery site showing the Anzac Ave frontage. Image supplied.
An artist's impression of Emerson's new brewery site showing the Anzac Ave frontage. Image supplied.
Brewing giant Lion will have invested more than $50 million in its Dunedin operations by the time Emerson's new brewery begins operation.

Lion, which spent $40 million redeveloping the Speight's site in Rattray St, bought the 22-year-old Emerson's brewery outright for $8 million and is understood to be spending more than $6 million on Emerson's new 14,000sq m site in Anzac Ave.

Emerson's will continue making 1 million litres a year at the Anzac Ave site but is expected to quickly increase production, targeting 3 million to 4 million litres within four years.

The site, about eight times larger than the present Wickliffe St site, is due to be cleared in January. Building might start during the first quarter, with opening scheduled for ''early 2016'', Emerson's general manager Bob King said yesterday.

Emerson's focus was the domestic market, but in ''three to four years'' it might consider re-entering the export market.

The building will include a retail area, bar and restaurant. Several dozen additional staff would probably be employed, on top of the present 17, he said.

Brewer and founder Richard Emerson said the project reflected Lion's commitment to Dunedin.

The building will be either brick, or concrete tilt-slab construction faced with brick.

''We wanted to keep in the spirit of Dunedin with the design ... the saw-tooth [industrial-style] buildings,'' Mr Emerson said of the building's roofline.

Mr King said Emerson's was yet to go through ''the full consenting process'' with the Dunedin City Council, but site uses had been researched and a brewery was possible.

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