Asia Brewers Network

Samoa’s Vailima Brewery To Shutdown Local Operations

7th July 2022
Fermentis

One of the Pacific’s most storied beer brands, Vailima, is shifting brewing operations from its home in Samoa to Fiji.

Brewery & brand owner Samoa Breweries – a subsidiary of Coca-Cola-owned Paradise Beverages – will close its brewing & bottling operations in Samoa on November 1.

In comments reported by Radio New Zealand, Paradise Beverages’ General Manager Michael Spencer said that the commercial viability of the Samoan brewery was hit by ageing equipment, the country’s 2019 measles outbreak and COVID-19.

Known as ‘The Taste of Samoa’, the move to rationalise the production of Vailima in Fiji is a significant blow to Samoa’s small brewing industry.

Samoa Breweries Ltd has brewed Vailima beer in Samoa since 1978 and established a regional distribution network including New Zealand, the United States, the Cook Islands and other countries in the Pacific.

The Samoa Observer quoted local Paradise Beverages country manager Moira Simi as saying that 50 jobs were under threat but that the brewery would be looking at relocation & redundancy packages for the affected staff.

“Looking after the wellbeing of our people, both mentally and physically is our priority,” she said.

“The Vailima brand is loved both in Samoa and overseas and we want to continue that legacy, so it can be enjoyed into the future.”

However, in contrast to the company’s official remarks, Samoa First Union said in a statement on Facebook that “100+ workers will lose their job”.

The union echoed frustrations shared by many Samoans on social media in a statement noting that “Vailima is Samoan and must be made here. If under trade law champagne wine can only be made in France, then Vailima beer should only be made in Samoa.”

Article by:

Oliver Woods

Oliver Woods

Founder

Beer Asia

Oliver is a marketing strategist by trade and a craft beer enthusiast by choice. He is the co-founder of Kakilang Brewing Company, a nomadic nano-brewery and lives, works and drinks in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. You can find him on Twitter @oiwoods

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