Taste of Samoa. [Source: RNZ]
Vailima beer will soon be brewed in Fiji as Samoa Breweries Ltd moves to close down operations in Samoa by the end of the year.
Vailima – which is advertised as ‘The Taste of Samoa’ – will now be manufactured at the company’s Paradise Beverages facilities in Fiji.
Samoa Breweries Ltd is majority owned by Paradise Beverages Ltd whose General Manager Mike Spencer said in a statement that it had not taken the decision lightly.
He said although the local team has done an incredible job operating in a tough environment, Samoa Breweries’ commercial viability has steadily declined over the past five years due to a combination of factors including ageing machinery, the impact of the 2019 measles outbreak, followed by the disruption caused by Covid-19.
Samoa Observer reports the Country Manager for the brewery Moira Simi said all other options were explored to allow brewing to continue in Samoa, but none were commercially viable.
Simi said the business is evolving into a sales and distribution operation making it difficult to keep the brewery operations in Samoa.
She also confirmed about 50 jobs will be affected with the proposed closure scheduled for November 1.
Vailima will be looking to relocate and find new roles for as many of those affected as possible, as well as redundancy packages.
“Looking after the wellbeing of our people, both mentally and physically is our priority,” she said.
“The Vailima brand is loved both in Samoa and overseas and we want to continue that legacy, so it can be enjoyed into the future,” she said.
Samoa Breweries Ltd has been brewing Vailima beer in Samoa since 1978.
Its website says, literally translated, Vailima means “water in the hands”. The origins go back to a Samoan legend about a husband and wife crossing the Samoan island of Upolu.
“Dying of thirst at the spot where the village now stands, the husband is revived when his wife carries water (vai) from a nearby water stream to him in her hands (lima), so giving the village its name, Vailima, and subsequently Samoa’s favourite beer’,” the website adds.
Vailima is exported to several countries including New Zealand, the United States and several Pacific countries.