Moa says cheers to beers and pioneers

Moa Beer launched its new pioneer-focused packaging late last year. And its latest marketing initiative continues down that patriotic road by trying to bind us together through the sharing of stories of everyday New Zealanders, something it’s calling ‘How to Brew a Country’. 

These stories can be found on Moa’s website and are preceded with a foreword by Moa Brewing founder Josh Scott, who says there is a natural flavour that comes from living, not only of where we live but how we think collectively.

He creates a simile between the diverse flavours of New Zealand culture and the fine and complex notes, which might show through in a well-brewed beer.

“… I love hearing stories about New Zealanders that not many people have even heard of. To me all these people are like ingredients in a big kettle, leaking their flavour into others and absorbing the flavours of those around them until eventually we get this collective essence of how we are as a country.”

This palette of New Zealand history also transfers to Moa’s new packaging. Moa’s marketing manager Jeremy Meech says the company was looking for images New Zealanders could connect with and decided to use a picture of Lyttleton’s Maurice Alderslade grubbing a paddock on a tractor in 1947. He says the image was found at the National Archives and encompasses the pioneering spirit of the time.

The story behind the new look features in a video called “A day with Maurie Alderslade” where Meech travels down to Canterbury to meet Alderslade’s relatives and describes where the inspiration came from.

It is of no surprise that Moa has launched an initiative that really targets New Zealand’s roots, following a sales-drop in New Zealand and Australia after the brand became a publicly listed company in November 2012.

In a report from Moa’s 2014 annual shareholder meeting, Chairman Grant Baker gives an idea of the loss. Reflecting back on its progress after becoming listed, he said the company had sales and distribution agreements in Australia and New Zealand that weren’t working, as well as challenges gaining resource consent for its new brewery.

“These factors resulted in lower than budgeted sales and a number of increased costs, which in turn led to a $5.8m dollar loss and consequently higher than expected utilisation of our cash resources.”

However, the company left the poorly performing sales and distribution agreements and is continuing to see growth, now running its own sales forces in Australia and New Zealand.

“For the last financial year, volume sold in Australia was up 54 percent on the previous year, with New Zealand up 18 percent. We see this as a very pleasing result given that the changes occurred mid-way through the year and caused a great deal of upheaval and disruption while they were happening.”

He also says in the report that first quarter volumes in New Zealand nearly doubled from what they were for the same period in the previous year. It will be interesting to see how things are looking for the company in another year’s time.

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