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 was then purchased by Alf & Kaye Loretan in 2007 and until recently sold to Craig and Angela McFarlane in 2021. Wests employs a loyal and highly trained workforce.
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 through its website.
In recent years, customer tastes have evolved, as has our product range. In line with consumer taste preferences, Wests have also introduced a comprehensive range of sugar-free products. 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.