Speight's is a brewery in Dunedin, New Zealand. Speight's is famous for its promotional branding based on being 'a real southern man' and being 'the pride of the south'. Speight's also gave rise to a series of Speight's Ale Houses across New Zealand. Speight's is owned by the Japanese controlled holding company Lion.
Speights was founded by James Speight, Charles Greenslade, and William Dawson. Speight's was first brewed on 4 April 1876 in Dunedin at the present Rattray Street site at the foot of the City Rise. Since then the Speight's brand has been firmly planted in the deep south of New Zealand Packaged Speights (bottles and cans) beer is brewed in Auckland and Dunedin after the Christchurch brewery was damaged by the 2011 earthquake. Since 2007 Speight's has been distributed to Samoa, Panama, the Bahamas, New York and London. In 2007 Speight's unveiled an ambitious marketing campaign dubbed the 'Great Beer Delivery'. Speight's built and transported a fully operational Speight's Alehouse from Dunedin, New Zealand to London, England by sea aboard the MV Lida. The campaign was brought about by Kiwis in London missing their favourite beer who regularly send emails and letters to the brewery. Tim Ellingham wrote a particularity touching email that would front the campaign and his good Mate James Livingston put his hand up to lead the voyage tasked with getting the pub to London. After a nationwide hunt for 4 southern men to accompany James the MV Lida, Ale House secured on deck departed Dunedin on July 25, 2007. The Crew consisted of James Livingston of Wellington, Tim Cleaver of New Plymouth, Mark Wilson of Invercargill, Lindsay Gilbert of Southbrige and Jamie Munro of Dunedin. The voyage would take 76 days arriving in London via Samoa, Panama, the Bahamas and New York on 7 October 2007. An accompanying replica bar was towed around the Country by 4WD, stopping to promote the voyage en route from Dunedin, via Invercargill to Auckland.
Speight's Gold Medal Ale is the traditional beer of students at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. While marketed as a 'Gold Medal Ale', Speight's is actually a New Zealand draught style beer, brewed using lager yeast and lagering techniques, so is therefore a lager and not an ale. The brand extended through New Zealand and into the Pacific in the 19th century. The company consolidated into New Zealand Breweries in the early 20th century when the brand's identity became reduced. Rediscovered by its owners it was promoted as a regional brew, with some success.
The wild popularity of the "Southern Man" series of advertisements has led to Speight's undergoing something of a boom and it can now again be found throughout the country.
The Speight's brewery also makes Speight's Old Dark, and the Speight's Craft Range of beer, including Speight's Distinction Ale, Speight's Summit, and Speight's Triple Hop Pilsner, all of which are lagers of varying colour. Speight's also makes a cider.
In 2008 Speight's Summit, a lager brewed with all natural ingredients, was introduced. Then in 2009, Speight's Traverse, a low-carb beer, was released on to the market.
Amongst many marketing angles, the 'Southern man' campaign has been significantly popular and long running. One television advertisement featured the Cardrona Hotel pub. Speight's later opened a loose replica of this building in Mt Eden, Auckland as part of its marketing scheme. The Speight's brand was removed in August 1960 and replaced with the Lucky brand. However, the public response was less than favourable, so the Speight's brand was brought back into production in October of that year. Speight's is the fighting brand of Lion Nathan in New Zealand. Speight's distinctive label features three eight-pointed stars. These stars come from both the original provincial arms of Otago, and the fact that Speight's was awarded gold medals at the 1877 Brewery awards in three different countries. Speight's has used the slogan "Pride of the south" for many years.
At the site of their Dunedin plant the company has installed a tap that pumps water up from a spring deep below the brewery, thus providing fresh, pure water free of charge. This tap was at the centre of an April Fool's joke in 1998 when the Otago Daily Times said that, just for that day, Speight's beer would flow, free of charge, from that tap.
- "Speights Brewery (Lion Breweries - NZ)". www.ratebeer.com. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Celebratory offer of free beer should go down well.". Otago Daily Times. 1 April 1998. Retrieved 2008-08-15.