Otago Daily Times
Anger at DB proposal to close Monteith’s brewery
DB Breweries proposes to close its Monteith's brewing operation in Greymouth, with the loss of seven jobs, the Greymouth Star understands.
The front of house — including the restaurant and bar — will remain open.
The Star understands all staff were informed of the plans when they were called to a meeting at the brewery this week.
In a statement this morning, DB Breweries confirmed it was proposing to move commercial production from Monteith's in Greymouth to its other breweries in Auckland and Timaru. The Greymouth brewery dates to 1868; Monteith's was founded on the Coast.
‘‘Monteith's is a significant brand in New Zealand and has been brewed at various DB sites around the country for many years now, with a relatively small volume being produced in Greymouth,’’ the company said.
The gastropub and brewery experience would remain in operation.
‘‘This proposal has been made in light of the impact of Covid and a wider need for DB to streamline its operations in the context of ongoing uncertainty.’’
DB blamed the ‘‘complexity’’ of moving raw materials to Greymouth, and then transporting finished product out, saying it was no longer commercially viable, from both a cost and carbon emissions point of view, given the small volumes.
‘‘At this stage, the move is only a proposal so it is not known what the final number of impacted people will be, but we have worked hard to minimise the number of roles affected. Employees who work as part of the gastropub and brewing experience are not impacted by this decision.’’
The man behind the battle against DB Breweries' decision to close Monteith's Brewing in Greymouth almost 20 years ago is infuriated by the news.
Former Greymouth man Gerry Morris, who in 2001 was a PR consultant based in Wellington, said today he was ‘‘bitterly disappointed’’.
Joining him in the fight back then was mayor at the time,
The Grey District Council wrote to DB asking for a 10 day stay, and West CoastTasman MP Damien O'Connor famously stated that DB were ‘‘DB — Dumb Bastards’’.
‘‘How can they (DBMonteith's) not brew in Greymouth, but continue to trade on all of the West Coast history?’’ Mr Morris said yesterday.
He said he struggled to understand how Monteith's could bypass the West Coast.
‘‘They should continue to brew the beer in Greymouth, it is the payback to West Coasters who have supported them all these years. Maybe we should have some type of rental on it [Monteith's beer],’’ he said.
Mr Morris repeated the slogan of two decades ago: ‘‘Taking Monteith's out of Greymouth is like taking the Vatican out of
Rome and putting it in Disneyland’’.
Twenty years ago, local drinkers boycotted the beer range. The boycott spread to New Zealand sports representatives and politicians, while hotel proprietors New Zealandwide shunned DB products.
By April 22, a month after the 2001 announcement, workers were back on site as talks resumed.
Mr Morris kept the pressure on, and ran adverts in newspapers informing people how they could tell where their beer was brewed. The adverts included the slogans ‘‘To DB or not to DB’’ and‘‘ That Man Refuses a DB’’.
Mr Morris's effort was rewarded when DB reversed its decision. In 2011 it invested $4 million and redeveloped the site. — Greymouth Star