New Zealand Breweries admits breach of Fair Trading Act over Speight's beer labels
Published18 Nov 2001
New Zealand Breweries Limited today acknowledged that wording on its 330ml bottles, cans, and packaging of Speight's Gold Medal Ale beer was in breach of the Fair Trading Act.
Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that New Zealand Breweries admitted the labels, which stated "Traditionallybrewed at Speight's Brewery Dunedin since 1876" were liable to mislead consumers into believing that the beer was brewed in Dunedin when the beer was in fact also brewed in Christchurch or Auckland.
"Because consumers can develop strong brand loyalty, they must be able to trust the information they are given about their preferred product," said Ms Battell.
"It is important that the information on products, including statements that form part of the branding of the product, is not liable to mislead the public.
"The regional connotation can be a particular incentive for consumers to buy a certain brand. Speight's describes itself as "Pride of the South", which I am sure touches a chord with many current or former Mainlanders who may not be aware that Speight's is also brewed in Christchurch and Auckland."
The Commerce Commission has entered into a settlement with New Zealand Breweries following its acknowledgement that the Speight's labelling was in breach of section 13 of the Act.
As part of the settlement, New Zealand Breweries will immediately implement changes to the labelling of the Speight's products brewed outside of Dunedin to ensure that the labelling accurately records the geographic location of the manufacturing breweries.
New Zealand Breweries has also agreed to publish corrective newspaper advertising and will provide its principal retailers with point of sale notices that will clearly inform the public that canned and bottled beer is brewed in Christchurch and Auckland.
Last month, the Commission settled with DB Breweries for a similar breach of the Act over the labelling on certain cans and bottles of its Tui and Monteith's beer.
In April/May 2001 New Zealand Breweries supplied Speight's Gold Medal Ale in 330 ml bottles and cans that were brewed in Christchurch and Auckland. The labels on the bottles and cans stated "Traditionally brewed at Speight's Brewery Dunedin Since 1876", and "Speight's Brewery Limited, 200 Rattray St, Dunedin".
The packaging containing the 330 ml bottles and cans states "Speight's Gold Medal Ale is the pride of the South, a refreshing full strength beer that can be enjoyed at any time. Located on the same site in Dunedin since 1876, Speight's Brewery has gained a reputation for traditionally brewing fine beers. Speight's Gold Medal Ale has been given its name after winning gold at the Melbourne International Brewing Awards over 100 years ago. Speight's Brewery Limited, 200 Rattray Street, Dunedin".
The Commission conducted an investigation into the labelling and packaging of Speight's Gold Medal Ale, and concluded that the representations made by New Zealand Breweries on the labels and packaging of Speight's Gold Medal Ale 330 ml cans and bottles were liable to mislead consumers to believe that the beer was brewed in Dunedin when that was not the case. New Zealand Breweries accepts that this was a breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986 ("the Act").
Media contact: Director of Fair Trading Act Deb Battell Phone work (04) 498 0908
Senior Advisor Communications Jackie Maitland Phone work (04) 498 0920