DB Breweries

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Dominion Breweries Limited
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
ProductsBeers and lagers
ParentHeineken Asia Pacific

DB Breweries is a New Zealand-based brewing company, owned by Heineken Asia Pacific. Founded in 1930 by Sir Henry Kelliher and W Joseph Coutts, the partners purchased Levers and Co. and the Waitemata Brewery Co. in Otahuhu.[1][2] Asia Pacific Breweries acquired DB Breweries in 2004,[3] which in turn was bought-out by Heineken International in 2012. The company mainly produces pale lager, whilst its Tui brand is one of the better-known beers in New Zealand, partly due to strong advertising.


The company was founded in 1930 by Sir Henry Kelliher with the purchase of Levers and Co. and the Waitemata Brewery Co. in Otahuhu, owned by W.J. Coutts, who became a director.

Coutts' son, Morton Coutts, took over as director in 1946, and later developed a new production process called "continuous fermentation", which enabled beer to be made continuously, without the need to stop and clean between batches. The system proved popular enough to be sold to other brewing companies.[4]


DB Breweries owns and operates four breweries in New Zealand - Waitemata Brewery (Otahuhu, Auckland), Tui Brewery (Mangatainoka), DB Draught Brewery (Timaru) and Monteith's Brewery (Greymouth).[5] Mainland Brewery was renamed to DB Draught Brewery in 2012 in honour of the brand’s significance in the South Island.

The Tui Brewery was established in 1889 by Henry Wagstaff and Edward Russell. The main brand is Tui, a 4% abv pale lager, named after a common native New Zealand bird. The New Zealand Consumers' Institute recently criticised Tui for claiming to be an "East India Pale Ale" when it is in fact a pale lager that bears little resemblance to the traditionally hoppy, bitter or malty India Pale Ale styles.

Tui Brewery

Yeah right[edit]

Tui is promoted through a humorous advertising campaign which uses stereotypes, heavy irony and the phrase Yeah Right. These advertisements have caused some controversy, such as a billboard in Wellington stating 'Camilla for Queen? Yeah Right' and one stating 'Aucklanders are people too. Yeah Right'. Others to have made the news include "Dad's new husband seems nice - Yeah right" (after New Zealand legalised same-sex marriage);[6] "I nvr txt whl drvn - yeah right";[7] "When Winston says no, he means no - Yeah right";[8] "Captain, I know a short cut to the port – Yeah right" (after MV Rena ran aground near Tauranga);[9] "Our father in Heaven, Tamaki be your name – Yeah right";[10] "She clearly married Dotcom for his body – Yeah right".[11]

In 2010 a church was threatened with legal action after parodying the Tui billboard campaign with the slogan, "Atheists have nothing to worry about - Yeah Right".[12]

Radler Trademark[edit]

DB trademarked the word Radler in 2003. This was contested in court by the Society of Beer Advocates who lost the case in 2011 when the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand ruled in favour of DB breweries after a two-year court battle.[13] The Society of Beer Advocates likens this trademark to being able to trademark the word 'Muesli' for cereal and is disappointed in this result as the word radler is commonly used in Europe.[14] This ruling has also been labelled as 'out of touch with reality' and condemned by some intellectual property experts in New Zealand.[15]


A 330mL can of DB Bitter beer can

Other Brands[edit]

Defunct brands[edit]

  • Joseph Kuhtze
  • Kiwi Lager[16]
  • Mako

Most of the brand products (Export 33, Export Dry, Export Gold and Monteith's Single Source) have won a Gold Quality Award at the 2011 annual World Quality Selections, organized by Monde Selection.


  1. ^ "Sir Henry Kelliher". 6 September 1997. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  2. ^ "DB History Timeline" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Asia Pacific completes takeover of DB Breweries". Modern Brewery Age. 2004.
  4. ^ Timeline Business History. DB Breweries.
  5. ^ http://www.db.co.nz/Our-Company-Heritage/Our-Breweries
  6. ^ "Controversy over 'homophobic' ad". 3 News NZ. 29 April 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Tui texting billboard pulled down after complaint". 3 News NZ. 14 May 2009. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Tui plans to keep Winston billboards". 3 News NZ. 1 August 2008. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Latest Tui billboard takes aim at Rena". Radio Live.
  10. ^ "Brian Tamaki is God? Yeah, right". 3 News NZ. 30 August 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Dotcom billboard complaint upheld". 3 News NZ. 23 November 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  12. ^ "DB to buy church a new billboard". 3 News NZ. 3 June 2010. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Battle of the brewers: DB can keep 'Radler'". The New Zealand Herald. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Society of Beer Advocates". 18 July 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  15. ^ "Radler case sparks call to review law". The New Zealand Herald. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  16. ^ Top 6: Lost Kiwi Beers

Further reading[edit]

  • McLauchlan, Gordon (1994). The Story of Beer: Beer and Brewing-A New Zealand History (Paperback). Auckland, NZ: Penguin. ISBN 0670860921.

External links[edit]