Cloudy Bay defends its appeal against Moa
Cloudy Bay Vineyards appealed the Marlborough District Council's approval of Moa Brewing Company's expansion to protect the unique rural environment of the Rapaura area, estate director Ian Morden says.
Cloudy Bay, owned by French luxury brand company LVMH Moet Hennessy, is one of three parties to appeal the brewery's expansion. The others are Marlborough residents Philip Rose and Simon Matthews.
Mr Morden said yesterday that Marlborough had an amazing international reputation for making wine from a pristine part of New Zealand, and having an industrial-scale brewing operation did not fit with that image.
While the Marlborough story was also hugely important to Moa's marketing strategy, the brewery's location was not central to their production.
While Cloudy Bay housed a commercial winery, a brewery operation was fundamentally different, he said.
"We have a vintage once a year. A brewery producing 12 million litres of beer a year would be like vintage every day, 365 days a year. A brewery has no link with the land, it does not have to be there."
Cloudy Bay had no issue with Moa's existing tasting room and "boutique" operations, Mr Morden said, but was concerned an expansion would negatively impact Marlborough's image as a premier wine-producing region.
Their objection was based on the entire region's economic wellbeing, and was not a case of neighbourly differences, or a stand-off between the wine and beer industries, he said.
Moa chief executive Geoff Ross said the French-owned winemaker was using "dirty tactics and the Resource Management Act" to stifle the development.
The craft brewer, which has been on its Jacksons Rd site since the company was founded 10 years ago, was granted resource consent to expand operations last month.
"We now see why New Zealand business and in particular provincial New Zealand is being held back by self-serving use of the RMA.
"What we have here is a French-owned company, who trades on our Kiwi identity, trying to dictate the terms of operation to a genuine New Zealand business.
"It also seems ironic that they are taking issue with our new building, which would easily fit inside just one of their five huge buildings.
"It doesn't seem very neighbourly at all, and disadvantages the region it resides in."
Mr Ross said the appeals were more "a nuisance than a road block", but one that cost Marlborough and a New Zealand-owned business growth. He said Moa has adequate capacity as it could brew new volume with friends at other breweries in other regions.
"This will enable the needs of the business to be met in the near and medium term whilst this is all sorted out," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News