Monday, April 6, 2009

Kaka Ale - W Strachan and Co, Victoria Brewery, Dunedin

"Clear To The Last Drop" - Kaka Ale advertisement supporting Kiwi troops during World War I. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Victoria Brewery was established in Dunedin in 1857 by William Strachan and partners and by 1890 was the oldest brewery in Dunedin, and possibly New Zealand.

W Strachan & Co, brewers of Kaka Ale, was formed by William Strachan near Port Chalmers, Dunedin in 1860 after the dissolution of the brewing partnership of Strachan, Thompson, and Co. In 1864, Strachan was operating the Victoria Brewery in Pitt Street, Dunedin, opposite Knox Church which must have raised the eyebrows of some parishioners. The brewery was there 26 years later, see ad below.

Classified ad, Otago Witness, 1890.

In 1878 at a meeting of brewers at the Captain Cook Hotel, Great King Street to oppose a beer tax proposed by the government, William Strachan opined that New Zealand "being the only place in the Southern Hemisphere where good ale could be made, anything likely to damage the brewing industry was a serious matter, and of general importance". Otago Witness, 17 August 1878, p. 7.

The Otago Witness reported on Strachan's Victoria Brewery exhibit at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition held in Dunedin in 1890. An excerpt from that newspaper is provided below - click on the image for a larger, readable view.

The bottled brand of William Strachan Co - the special brand - and quite possibly the forerunner of Kaka Ale - is singled out for particular attention.

The reporter suggests, in the sales puffery typical for what passed as news reporting in those days, that it "has a fine sparkle about it that may almost be likened to the sparkle of champagne. It leaves no after acidity on the palate, and is clear and free from the peculiar flavour that is characteristic of many of the colonially brewed ales."

Already Strachan's brew appears to being marketed as "clear to the last drop", the slogan of the World War I Kaka Ale.

Otago Witness, 9 January 1890, p.19. Click on image for a larger image to read.

No word on when the last drop of Kaka was brewed but clearly sometime after World War I.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thirsty for a Kaka Ale.Bring it back!
Chris Strachan