DB takes measures as changes brew

At the same time, the tough economic conditions meant the trend for beer drinkers to trade up to premium brands had slowed, and many had gone back to cheaper brews.

And many consumers were saving money by having a drink at home rather than going out at night.

Blake estimated overall beer consumption declined 4-5% in the year to September, compared with the previous year.

“It’s been a huge category shift and I’ve never seen that sort of momentum before in the market,” Blake said.

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(NOTE: The Brewers Guild of New Zealand has done a craft beer survey which showed that for the first six month of the year craft beer bottled sales had increase 10%)


DB Breweries is in the process of cancelling the registration of its Saison trademark with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). The company has held the trademark since April 2002.

DB Breweries’ general manager marketing Clare Morgan says the decision to cancel the trademark was a logical one given the company hasn’t produced Saison for a considerable time.

“We haven’t brewed Monteith’s Saison for six years and we have no intention of re-launching it to the market as it no longer fits our current Monteith’s portfolio. The brand was very well received when it was first launched but we ceased production in 2003.”

Clare Morgan says the cancellation of the Saison trademark has no bearing on the company’s ‘Radler’ trademark.

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Lion Nathan affected by competition, supermarket sales

But DB is a discounter. It has been selling Heineken at prices significantly lower than the comparable Heineken selling prices in Australia, the report said.

Also, de-regulation of the New Zealand liquor industry in 1999 allowed supermarkets to sell alcohol for the first time.

“This changed industry dynamics as it led to significantly more competition at the off-premise retail level,” the report said.

As a result off-premise sales increased at the expense of on-premise sales.

The combination of the impact of supermarkets, discounting and other minor factors had resulted in a 6 percent reduction in the real price of off-premise beer since 1999.

“Competition in New Zealand is expected to remain tough, with price discounting from DB Breweries and smaller participants expected to continue,” the report said.

“Supermarkets, which represent some 30 percent of all alcohol sales and 22 percent of beer sales, now hold significant buying power in what is already a very competitive market.”

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Row over name leaves DB in froth

The trademarking stoush between a multinational brewery and a bunch of Kiwi beer enthusiasts over the use of the beer term “radler” is starting to froth.

DB Breweries, which is now wholly owned by Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries, last week signalled its intention to fight a legal application filed in May by the Society of Beer Advocates (Soba) to invalidate its trade-marking of radler, in what is shaping as a David and Goliath beer battle.

Soba’s strategy would be to establish that New Zealanders, particularly brewers, were aware of the generic nature of the term before that date.

“We may soon require the assistance of all brewers in New Zealand in our quest to show that DB are either malicious in registering a trademark they knew was a generic brewing term, or incompetent in not knowing it was, when every other brewer worth their salt did,” Mr McGill said.

“One outcome means they lose the trademark, the other means they lose huge amounts of credibility by being a brewer without a clue about beer.”

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Radler – the battle lines are drawn

In a cynical, but widely predicted move designed to maximise the distance from May’s negative publicity, DB has waited until the very last day possible to defend its trademarking of ‘radler’, the name of a recognised beer style.

On Friday 10th July, the last day permissible, DB’s lawyers, Simpson Grierson, submitted a counterstatement to the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), registering the brewer’s intention to contest the Declaration of Invalidity filed by SOBA’s patent attorneys James & Wells Intellectual Property.

What happens now?

Read the full story here to find out.

DB buys Hurricanes’ home bar

The NBR understands DB has injected about $387,000 into the new company along with $258,000 from Three Jays in order to buy the bar, manage it and also operate a microbrewery on the premises.

DB, which was the head leaseholder of the bar, sent in receivers to take control of The Temperance earlier this year after concerns about its management, which sub-leased the venue.

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Good Bastard has Swipe at Radler Debacle

“Who do this arrogant bastards think they are.” Is the comment from a bemused Paddy Sweeney at the Thirsty Bloke Bottle Shop in Victoria Street.

Often referred to as the original Good Bastard, Sweeney is referring to the German owned DB and their subsidiary Montieths and their registering the German beer style Radler and the subsequent fallout with the Green Man Brewery in Dunedin.

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Big guns to fire for small NZ brewery

Beer boffins have enlisted some high-powered legal help to fight one of New Zealand’s brewing giants over a trade mark.

The Society of Beer Advocates (Soba) has filed a legal application to invalidate DB Breweries’ trade-marking of the beer term “radler”.

The move comes after a leading firm of patent attorneys, James & Wells Intellectual Property, waded into the brewing industry stoush, originally reported in the Waikato Times on April 4, by offering the services of its specialist intellectual property litigation group on a pro-bono basis.

Earlier this year DB Breweries forced the small entrepreneurial Green Man Brewery to stop using the generic term radler and re-label its bottles, because it had trade-marked the name in New Zealand in 2003.

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Beer lovers to take on DB Breweries over trademark

In response to the frustrations expressed by the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) Inc about DB Breweries trade marking and preventing others from using the generic term “radler” in relation to their beer, James & Wells Intellectual Property has offered SOBA Inc the services of its specialist intellectual property litigation group on a pro-bono basis to invalidate DB Breweries’ trade mark registration for RADLER.

SOBA campaigner Greig McGill says “We greatly appreciate James & Wells’ involvement. As a young organisation, we couldn’t have afforded to challenge this cynical misuse of trade mark law without their assistance. We look forward to justice and common sense prevailing, and the return of radler to a generic term defining a style of beer, as it should be.”

DB Breweries seems to have made a habit of trying to monopolise generic terms for beer styles and along with Radler, has also sought to register “Oud Bruin” and “Saison” with mixed success.

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Beerly Writing – St George and St Greig

From the Malthouse blog, the latest post takes a look at England, Saint George, the Bottle of Britain, London Pride and Old Speckled Hen. It is called “A most quaffable ale, by George“:

In keeping with their famous reserve, English people traditionally tend to acknowledge Saint George’s Day rather than celebrate it. It is not a public holiday and, apart from a few parades and occasional happy hours, April 23 passes relatively uneventfully in the mother country. Saint George, who may not have even existed, certainly got around if he did. He is the patron saint of at least eight countries – including England, Ethiopia and Russia – and revered by diverse groups including butchers, soldiers, boy scouts, Freemasons and people with syphilis. Assuming he was a real historical figure, Saint George was certainly not English and it is possible he never even visited those green and pleasant lands.

Since I noted gently that Greig does in fact live in Hamiltron, he has done two excellent blog posts, achieved saturation media coverage and publicly attacked DB, The Herald and The Independent. I should become a motivational coach.