After more than three years in the planning and just over 12 months in the building, the new Emerson’s Brewery has been officially opened, with the ribbon cut by brewery founder Richard Emerson’s mum, Ingrid.
Speaking to around 250 guests at the opening, brewery founder Richard Emerson said, “When I started Emerson’s Brewery in 1992, I wanted to prove that we could make world-class beers right here in Dunedin. That vision has been well and truly recognised. And thanks to our partners at Lion, we now have an amazing new building to serve as a fitting new spiritual home – a place where all our Emerson’s fans can come and see, taste, smell and enjoy all our great beers.”
Lion NZ Managing Director Rory Glass said “Today, we secure the future of Emerson’s in Dunedin. We’ve once again created new jobs. We’ve built state-of-the-art brewing facilities, and a world-class tourist destination which will inject millions of dollars into the local economy”.
Mr Glass noted that at a time where many companies were pulling back from the regions, Lion were doubling down. He cited the completion of the $40 million Speight’s Brewery redevelopment in 2014, after a $40 million reinvigoration project that improved the brewery on its original heritage site and created many new jobs.
The opening ceremony was a celebration of Emerson’s and Dunedin’s Scottish heritage, with a haggis ceremony led by Lion Group CEO Stuart Irvine. The official opening concluded with a toast, of a whiskey porter – an Emerson’s limited edition commemorative brew.
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Notes for Editor:
History of Emerson’s
- After spending a year in Edinburgh and experiencing beers overseas, Richard Emerson was inspired to try to create the same variety and quality here in New Zealand.
- In October 1992, building on his studies and brewing jobs overseas, and with investment from family and friends, he established Emerson’s Brewery.
- The first brew from the original 4 Grange Street site was the London Porter in January 1993.
- Since then three more beers have been added to the core range: the New Zealand Pilsner, the 1812 IPA, and the Bookbinder. Two more beers – the Daredevil Red IPA and the Bird Dog IPA – will be added to the core range in October 2016.
- Emerson’s also releases a range of seasonal and limited release brews every year.
- Emerson’s was acquired by Lion NZ in November 2012, and is still run by Richard and his team in Dunedin as a stand-alone business unit.
- The land was purchased in October 2014, with the build commencing in May 2015.
- The project was managed by Beca.
- Local Dunedin firm Farra Engineering - an Emerson’s supplier from day one – built the new 1200 litre brew plant.
- The brew plant and all the tanks were relocated from the old site at Wickliffe Street.
- This project cost $25 million to complete, and employed around 250 people.
- The new site employs 35, compared to 15 at the old site.
- Brewing capacity is approximately 2.5million litres, compared to 1 million at the old site.
- This is stage one: the brewery will eventually brew approximately 8 million litres.
- Projected turnover is $40 million per annum. The brewery and restaurant is forecast to attract about $2million per annum into the local economy.