Thursday, 14 July 2011

An Open Letter to Dominion Breweries.

A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with devastating cost to the victor; it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat. – Wikipedia.


About two months ago you sent one of your emissaries to my bar to ask what it would take to get DB or Monteiths products into our product range at Hashigo Zake. Clearly some people in your organisation cared that your product range and corporate image have alienated the market, particularly the portion of the market that patronise bars like mine. Or perhaps you’re alarmed at the rate that freehouses are opening up in Wellington. I was in a conciliatory mood at the time and suggested just two preconditions – the appearance of a “killer” product and the elimination of the Radler problem.


Now I have good reason to believe that after getting litigious with the Green Man Brewery you had internal advice to walk away from the Radler trademark, but for reasons no-one can fathom you chose to stick to it.


Perhaps you were still giddy from the good fortune of having been granted a trademark that even IPONZ staff concede off the record was a mistake.


Perhaps you have some kind of obligation to your corporate masters in Singapore and the Netherlands to give no ground in legal disputes.


So with overall sales of beer falling but the market for small independent breweries growing you have a victory that demonstrates you have nothing but contempt for New Zealand consumers and other brewers. Rest assured that the feeling is quickly becoming mutual.


So now that IPONZ have chosen not to eliminate the “Radler problem” I can be less equivocal about my response back in May. The chances of any product of your group of companies ever being made available for sale at Hashigo Zake just went from minute to nil. And this year if your company’s executives come to Hashigo Zake looking for good beer after the BrewNZ Awards they will not be served.

47 comments:

  1. I almost said "Good on you mate!" but was afraid it could get me into trouble with some sort of trademark. You can't be sure nowadays, can you? LMAO

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  2. Perhaps they will trademark the term lager next? Or beer??? Just a ridiculous travesty.

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  3. Given that when DB launched Radler and when promoting it into my bar explained to me that it was a generic term for a style of beer, I find that lies must have been told. Either to me- their customer, or to IPONZ. Either way, DB = excommunicado.

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  4. Good onya Dominic!
    High time I went and spent more money in your bar I think!! :-D

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  5. The idea of walking in to Hashigo Zake and seeing a DB product there does not bear thinking about. Except maybe as a clever joke. Which I don't get.

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  7. Probably I should get the photo of executives of DB off from somewhere and get familiar with it, so I know what to do when I see the guy in the bar.

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  8. Shiggy, last year they the guys in dinner suits drinking at the bar and getting abused from two feet away by [name withheld].

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  9. I shall hoist a beer in your honor tonight, good sir, and rest assured - it will not be a DB product. Great stuff!

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  10. Name Withheld = EVERY BEER FAN IN WELLINGTON

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  11. Good on you for standing up for honest beer mate.

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  12. Doctor Bastard14 July 2011 at 19:22

    I didn't think it was possible for me to love you more. But it turns out that I can. Well said, sir.

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  13. I'll drink to that!

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  14. hear hear! I would totally boycott DB too, but i haven't bought their swill for years anyways.

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  15. Well said Dominic - It's brave and committed to stand up to the industry in your business and all serious beer lovers should support you more for it!

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  16. Dan Filihiahekava14 July 2011 at 21:54

    another reason why i love HS , Real beer , real passion

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  17. Dear dearest Hashigo Zake.
    Please import good premixed german cycling beers and blackout the labels before selling.

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  18. DB... not only do you make shockingly bad beer....as a corporate citizen you behave shockingly - like school yard bullies. I will boycott your products and encourage everyone I know to do the same and I hope the damage to your brand will bring about common sense.

    Then again, the best defense to a bully is a smack in the mouth.... lets see social media pass the word on quickly and nastily with thousands of people highlighting how bad your attitude and beer really are

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  19. Yup, screw DB. I have been boycotting their rubbish products for the last 6 months. Will never give you my business again.Well done Hashigo Zaki for their stance and BrewNZ also.Yes , a pyrrhic victory in regards to the Radler case indeed.

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  20. Well said. I'll never buy a DB product again, and will encourage others to do the same at every opportunity. - 8itchin.

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  21. Well done HZ.
    Behind you 100%.
    Never been in before, but you can count on my patronage in the (extremely) near future.

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  22. DB Breweries, you suck

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  23. Awesome stuff.

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  24. To all those who have commented here. GET OVER YOURSELF. DB produces beer, mainly Lager. In bulk quantities. The taste is a standard style lager that is immensely popular.
    Craft beer is a trend that will take at most 20% of the market. I'm not saying one is better than the other, just stating facts that DB is not going to notice your boycotts, and will continue to profit from the majority lager swilling public.
    Suck it up.
    And drink NZ wine. -reliably good drinks and much better for you.

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  25. http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2011/07/13/is-that-shandy-or-radler-youre-drinking/

    Only sane comment here. It is actually called a shandy. radler? phhht.

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  26. Phil Goff, you conveniently forget that DB started all this by threatening a brewery who were doing a better job than they did of making an actual, authentic radler.

    I'll concede one thing - a lot of the heat around this issue comes from years of frustration at the general predatory behaviour of DB (and arguably Lion Nathan too). They use their deep pockets to shut out competition and they knowingly put out products that pollute the legacy of styles and mislead customers.

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  27. Top work Dominic - shared the "you're barred sonny" far and wide :-)

    (PS: love the blog design/theme you're using)

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  28. A boycott of DB beers - I suspect I can just about manage that, even without cause...

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  29. Nice letter - I hope people follow up with not buying any of their stuff, if indeed anyone reading here does.

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  30. Plenty of basement man-love going on here. I thought the rumours were false, but.....

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  31. Heard, seconded. Will now familiarise myself with DB products to know what not to buy, and write a letter to DB explaining why.

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  32. awesome. good on ya mate.

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  33. For a list of DB product names you could search the comments on the DomPost story about this (now over 200 comments) - comment around no.130 as I recall. The pressure is growing. As well as all home grown brewery efforts, this needs an importer to start importing Radler - and then take it to WTO if it is blocked.

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  34. Nice idea re WTO but who will pay for that? It so happens that there is a small amount of bottled German radler being imported in defiance of the trademark. The importer is trying to decide just what to do with the last case or so. Look for random bottles posing for guerilla photo-shoots in front of the Monteiths booth at Beervana.

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  35. /hat tip to you sir....

    I think I would be dissapointed to find any Lion or DB products in your bar.

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  36. +1 I'm also pointing out to other establishments that stock DB products that I'm boycotting it over the Radler fiasco. Some have said they've noticed a few others making similar comments.

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  37. I think I have a new favourite bar

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