The Wests cordial and soft drink business started in Dunedin 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 , Dunedin, which he ran with his wife Elizabeth and later his two sons. Tom West produced brightly coloured cordials in hand-crafted bottles. These drinks proved popular with Dunedin's early settlers and enabled Tom West to expand further.
As the numbers of taverns and pubs began to increase, Tom West saw an opportunity and became the first manufacturer of Hop and Ginger Beer in Dunedin in 1906. Eight years later in 1914, his sons Charlie & Walter West constructed a purpose-built factory on the corner of Bay View Road and Moreau St in St Kilda, Dunedin, where the Wests business 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 an expansion of the factory to its current size in 1944. In 1966 the business was purchased by Mr & 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 & Ray Pearson purchased the business. The Pearsons introduced many changes designed to modernise Wests. This included upgrading the factory, and most importantly moving the bottling from Glass to Plastic - A medium which Wests still uses to this day.
Wests proudly remains a family owned business, and has been in the hands of Alf & Kaye Loretan since 2007. Wests employs a loyal and highly trained salt-of-the-earth workforce.
In 2012, the closing of our main plastic bottle supplier prompted the largest investment by Wests in recent history. A PET Plastic Bottle Blow Mold Machine was imported from China, which allows us to manufacture all our bottles on-site. Comissioned in January 2013, the machine required substantial work to setup and involved local contractors, local authorities as well as an engineer flown in from Shanghai. We are proud that this machine continues to work very efficiently and has produced close to 2 Million bottles - each bottle sporting the embossed iconic Wests logo.
Throughout its history Wests has been actively involved with the local community. Generations of locals have grown up with Wests, which has helped to shape the company that we are today.
Wests continues to manufacture a wide range of beverages. Many of these are based on original recipes. These include unique flavours such as Pineapple & Pear, Hot Lemon and the ever popular Cola & Raspberry. As 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 soda syrup 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 despatches products to wholesale customers, either in box or pallet quantities. At the front is the Wests Cordials Factory Shop which stocks all of the Wests products. Wests also offers all of its products to residential customers nation-wide, using the online puchase facilty provided from its website, and based on the factory shop price plus a courier delivery fee.
In recent years, customer tastes have evolved, as has our product range. Wests have introduced bottled water with personalised labels, and a comprehensive range of sugar-free products. Perfect for the health concious, Wests are proud to offer the largest range of Sugar-Free drinks of any company in New Zealand, and do so at the same reasonable price as the regular equivalents.
Wests is also proud to be engaging in export: Highlights include a container of energy drinks to North Africa, and ongoing export to the Pacific Islands.
Looking to the future, Wests aims to continue to honour our past, and to keep producing high-quality beverages with the exceptional service that all Wests customers have loved since 1876.