Samoa
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Ownership of Vailima beer brand back in local hands

Apia, SAMOA — Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa is applauding the patriotic initiative to return the Vailima beer brand to Samoa owned and managed by Samoans without any strings attached.

Acknowledging the agreement brainchild between the Samoa Breweries Ltd (SBL) and Charlie Va’ai and Beatrice Ott to take over ownership of the Vailima brand in Samoa, the Government Leader welcomes the latest development saying its “very good news that the brand acquisition of Vailima to Mr. Vaai and Ms. Ott has eventuated.”

 “We recognize that Vailima is an iconic brand for Samoa and knowing it is now ours and here to stay is a great achievement,” she complimented extending Government’s gratitude to CCEP for their efforts in facilitating the release of the brand back to Samoa.

To that effect, the Prime Minister also reaffirmed Government’s support wishing Vaai and Ott “the very best.”
The agreement will see the ownership of the Vailima brand placed in local hands.

It builds upon the existing Memorandum of Understanding reached with Mr Va’ai and Ms Ott in 2022 to exclusively produce the Vailima brand in Samoa.

Samoa Breweries Ltd will continue to sell and distribute Vailima alongside Samoa’s favourite non-alcoholic beverages in Samoa.

The brewing and ownership of Vailima will be with Mr Va’ai and Ms Ott.

 “It’s always been our strong preference to keep the production of Vailima in Samoa,” says Paradise Beverages Limited (the owner of Samoa Breweries Ltd) General Manager Mike Spencer. “Not only will Vailima be produced in Samoa, we are thrilled the ownership of the brand also will be in Samoan hands, looked after by people who are incredibly passionate about the brand’s heritage”

Until Mr Va’ai and Ms Ott are ready to produce locally on island, the product will be produced offshore using the same methods and ingredients to ensure consumers can, in the meantime, continue to enjoy their much-loved Vailima.

Moira Simi, Country Manager of Samoa Breweries Limited said, “It’s fantastic we have found a passionate local to produce and look after our much-loved Vailima. We look forward to working closely with Mr Va’ai and Ms Ott to continue the great legacy of Vailima in Samoa.”

“We had a meeting with the Hon. Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa this week to provide an update on the agreement and ownership changes of Vailima in Samoa,” said Simi.

STATEMENT FROM THE OWNERS

“It has been a long haul to finally get this result. Last year when the directive from CCEP was made to shift the production and distribution of Vailima beer to Fiji, like many Samoans the announcement was not easy to receive.
“Discussions over the continuation of the brand with CCEP dated back to 2017, as of August 2022 when we reached an agreement to keep production in Samoa under a licensing agreement, we believed it was a necessary position in our efforts to keep Vailima in Samoa.

 “However, it was always challenging for the licensing agreement to succeed. It was apparent this arrangement would always raise questions of concern over who owns Vailima. Samoa is very proud of its beer and it was a challenge for us to ensure the retention of local identity of the brand and appease all Samoans and their concerns and diminishing support relating to Vailima’s originating slogan ‘Samoa’s very own beer’ as no longer authentic.

 “As per the Prime Minister’s comment we are also grateful to CCEP for their approval for the sale of the brand, it was not easy but we believe we reached this agreement by both parties prioritizing the common goal of what is best for Vailima.

“So we are delighted to say, Vailima is coming home and we will endeavor to ensure it always stays in Samoa.”
The challenges ahead will be the financial investment for the commissioning of a new brew house, packaging line and utilities which is significant but also with the current shipping delays is not ideal.

However, the entrepreneur are optimistic in overcoming these obstacles so that production of Vailima can commence this year locally again.