Greymouth politely declines bottling plant
Development West Coast (DWC) and the Grey District Council have politely declined DB-Heineken’s offer to gift their Greymouth-based bottling plant and will instead collaborate on a community support initiative.
In November 2020 DB Breweries announced it would be ceasing commercial production at the Monteith’s Greymouth Brewery, citing unsustainable commercial viability. Following engagement with DWC and the Grey District Council, DB-Heineken offered to hand over their bottling plant to the community.
DWC commissioned a study to investigate the feasibility of the plant being used by local craft brewers and/or a water bottling operation. Considering the advice presented in the report, DWC and the Grey District Council have decided against taking on the bottling plant.
“It is disappointing, but we had to do due diligence to establish if the bottling plant would be viable for the community,” DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne said.
The report found the bottling plant to be of little asset value and any potential economic benefits would be far outweighed by the investment required to unlock those opportunities.
“The bottling plant is an awkward volume,” Milne said.
It is too big for small-scale artisanal or craft brewers. Small runs would not work due to the amount of wastage from beer left in the plant’s lines.
The plant is also not big enough to make water bottling commercially viable. For water bottling to be successful it must be done at scale.
In addition to capacity issues, the approximately 10-15 year old plant has high energy costs and would require further investment and upgrades to bring it up to standard for water bottling.
“Given the investment required to move the plant and get it up and running again, the high operational costs, fluctuating demand, and slim margins, water bottling would unlikely be profitable,” Milne said.
Grey District Mayor Tania Gibson agreed.
“While we appreciate the offer, accepting the plant would burden ratepayers with a risky operation needing significant investment to become operational,” Gibson said.
DB-Heineken have been informed of the decision and for now are leaving the bottling plant as part of the brewery tour at Monteith’s gastropub in Greymouth.
The Grey District Council is continuing to work with DB-Heineken on an alternative initiative. Details have not yet been finalised, but DB-Heineken are committed to supporting a community support initiative.