Otago Daily Times

Anger at DB pro­posal to close Monteith’s brew­ery

GREYMOUTH

- VIV LOGIE

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,

Kevin Brown.

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

 ?? PHOTO: NZPA ??
PHOTO: NZPA

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