The Wests brand began back in 1876, the same year another local family, the Speight’s, began their brewing business. English born Tom West opened a grocery store in Maclaggan Street which he ran with his wife Elizabeth and later his two sons. From the back of this shop came the origins of Wests Cordials, as Tom moved into the production of brightly coloured cordials in hand-crafted bottles. These drinks proved popular with Dunedins early settlers and enabled Tom West to expand further.
As the numbers of taverns and pubs began to increase Wests saw an opportunity and became the first manufacturers of Hop and Ginger Beer in Dunedin in 1906. Eight years later in 1914, Tom Wests' Sons, Charlie and Walter West constructed a purpose-built factory on the corner of Bay View Road and Moreau St in St Kilda, Dunedin, where Wests still operates today.
In 1930 the business changed hands to the Finnie Family. Related to the Wests, the brothers Alf and Harry, and later William oversaw Wests' development including an expansion of the factory to its current size in 1944. This ownership continued up until 1966 when the business was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. McKinstry in partnership with Mr Colin Colquhoun. Under this management the business was renamed to Wests' Cordials Ltd, and a selection of Wines were also introduced in addition to Cordials through the Factory Shop. In 1976, Mr. William Mosely took over until 1987 when Lance and Ray Pearson purchased the business. The Pearson brothers introduced many changes designed to modernise Wests. This included an upgrading of the factory, and most importantly moving the bottling medium from Glass to Plastic Bottles - A medium for which Wests' products are still bottled to this day.
Wests has proudly been owned by familys from its beginning, and is currently under the ownership of Alf & Kaye Loretan who have been carrying on the Wests brand since 2007.
In 2012, the closing of our primary supplier of plastic PET bottles necessitated Wests' largest investment in recent history. Previously transported down from Christchurch, the decision was made to import our very own Blow Mold Machine from China which would allow us to manufacture PET bottles of every shape and size required by our product line. Comissioned in January 2013, the machine required substantial work to setup and involved local contractors, local authorities as well as an engineer flown from Shanghai to oversee. We are now proud to say that the machine has produced over 1,000,000 bottles as of August 2015 and is still going strong at approximately 8,000 / week. All of which sport the iconic Wests logo embossed into the plastic.
Throughout our history West has enjoyed a family feel backed by the generations of familys who have run it. Active throughout the local community, generations of locals have grown up with us, and helped shape the company that we are today.
Wests continues to manufacture a wide range of products, some of them based on original recipes and unique flavours like Pineapple and Pear, Hot Lemon and the very popular Cola and Raspberry. However, as the times have changed so has Wests. Many Pubs now use Wests Postmix flavourings and machines to serve their customers. Dairies and food stalls throughout the country rely on Wests for Slushy & Milkshake flavours, and the emergence of Home Soda machines has led to Wests introducing compatible flavours.
Celebrating the 100th year at our current location, the Wests Building operates as two groups. Out the back, the Wests Cordials factory produces and despatched products to wholesale customers. At the front is the Wests Cordials Factory Shop which stocks most of the Wests products produced in the Wests Factory.
In recent years, customer tastes have evolved as has our product range. Wests have introduced our Sugar Free range of products as well as Flavoured Waters. Perfect for Diabetics and health concious consumers, Wests are proud to offer the largest flavour range of Sugar-Free Soft Drinks, Cordials, Milkshake Syrups and Soda Syrups of any company in New Zealand, and do so at the same reasonable price as the regular equivalents. Wests also recently intoduced a Flavoured Water Range to further align to new customer preferences. Developed alongside a Senior Economics Class from nearby Queens High School, we are now proud to offer a locally bottled, light & refreshing flavoured water range to our customers.
Looking to the future, Wests aims to continue to honour our past as well as produce quality products, with the service that customers have loved since 1876.