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Paradise Beverages celebrated its sixtieth birthday in August 2017. Now one of the Pacific region’s leading beverages companies, it was established in August 1957 in Fiji’s capital city Suva. Then a partnership between Carlton & United Breweries and Carpenters Fiji Limited, the company was incorporated as Carlton Brewery Fiji Limited (CBFL) in November the same year.
It proudly started brewing Fiji Bitter, now one of the nation’s favourite brews, in November 1958, with the first ever keg the locally-brewed draught beer going on sale in January 1959, following the official opening of the Carlton Brewery site in Suva.
In the beginning, Fiji Bitter was introduced in draught form as well as bottled in 750mL quarts, or long necks as they are fondly called. The popular stubbie, known locally as a Fiji Baby or pint, was launched in December 1971. From those humble beginnings and just one beer, Paradise Beverages can now proudly claim to be the power behind Fiji - and Samoa’s - most loved beverage portfolio, with over 16 brands of beers, spirits and RTDs produced at its breweries in Suva and Apia and Lautoka distillery.
The signs of growth were evident in 1977 when the company expanded to the west of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, with the purchase of South Seas Brewery’s site in Lautoka. Over the coming years it launched Fiji Stout and Fiji Light, replacing them in 1995 with Fiji Gold. Now the country’s top-selling beer, Fiji Gold is a crisp, pale lager, popular as a full strength but less filling option, thanks to its lower carbonation and carbohydrate content than Fiji Bitter.
In 1998 it acquired the South Pacific Distillery from Fiji Sugar Corporation and along with it, the Bounty Rum brand. Located in the sugar city of Lautoka, at the time it was the only commercial distillery in the South Pacific region.
Venturing into new territory, in July 1999 CBFL (as the company was then known) purchased Samoa Breweries Limited in Apia, the manufacturer of Vailima Beer and bottler of Coca-Cola. In the years that followed, it expanded its portfolio to include Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cans, starting with Bounty Rum & Cola. In May 2005, CBFL merged with South Pacific Distilleries to form Fosters Group Pacific Limited (FGPL), which was listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange two months later.
Marking its fiftieth – or Golden – anniversary, in 2007 we launched Fiji Premium to cater for the emerging premium and tourist market, as well as for export. The following year, we launched the vodka-based Fiji Tribe RTD range.
Late 2011 brought extraordinary change, with the global takeover of Fosters Group by multi-national brewing company, SABMiller. In 2012, Fosters Group Pacific Limited was sold to Australian-listed company Coca-Cola Amatil, the region’s biggest beverage manufacturer, and thereafter renamed Paradise Beverages Fiji Limited (PBFL).
The change brought further innovation and significant investment. In 2013, we launched an exotic range of flavoured rums and liqueurs, under the subsidiary name of Rum Co. of Fiji, and in March 2014 we announced the acquisition of Vonu Pure Lager from the Island Brewing Company in Nadi.
The following year marked the start of a significant investment program which would see over FJ$45 million spent on facility and capability upgrades over three years, starting with the completion of a new world-class brewhouse in Suva, which doubled production capacity, and followed with the installation of a state-of-the-art packaging facility, to meet the growing need for more diverse and flexible packaging options.
In the year of its sixtieth anniversary, Paradise cemented its position as the region’s leading beverage company. After expanding the availability of its full spirits range across Samoa and launching a new range of premium, triple-distilled flavoured vodkas called Katia, Paradise Beverages twice broke new ground, launching the region’s first RTD brewed from cane spirit, Joskes Brew, in Fiji and the first ‘malternative’ beer, Moni, in Samoa.
Having established a new vision to be recognised as the premier place to work, creating world-class beverages and making a positive contribution to the business and the markets in which we operate, Paradise Beverages formally celebrated turning 60 at a formal celebration with some 300 of its employees and 100 customers, who raised a specially-created commemorative Fiji Bitter brew at party to acknowledge the company’s heritage and thank the many people who contributed to its success.