Tui Brewery has made quite the name for itself in New Zealand, not only for its beers but also for the shock value of its advertising. While I am not a fan of sexist advertising, I couldn’t resist poking a bit of fun around the topic as we drove through Mangatianoka over ten years ago.
Back then, things were different in the factory, but we have opted to keep the story because, let’s face it, an intermixing of a few travel anecdotes makes life more fun.
Therefore, the story just below is a tongue-in-cheek historical reference back to our first visit to Tui in 2010. Following that is a review of the current tour they offer, which we took much more recently.
Do the ‘Gorgeous Women’ in their ads really run the Tui Brewery?
New Zealand is famous for lots of things, clean green living, the All Blacks, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Edmond Hilary, America’s Cup, creating Pavlova, Russell Crowe, the flat white, and meat pies.
And, according to Tui’s advertisements, New Zealand is famous for the ‘gorgeous women’ who run the Tui Brewery.
But are they real?
First, have a look at one of their ads for yourself…
In this age of political correctness, it’s a very bold statement. So we figure it must be true.
And, as luck would have it, we were driving through the town of Mangatianoka a few years ago.
As we crossed the Mangatianoka River, we saw the Tui Brewery standing tall and proud. So far, both the river and the building looked exactly as they did in the commercials.
We are not strangers to bringing our kids to places like this, having toured Old Bushmills Distillery and Guinness while in Ireland.
More recently we took a tour of the Speights Brewery in Dunedin on the South Island.
We arrived too late for a brewery tour
So, we headed to the entrance. Here we found good news and bad. First, the bad, Tui Brewery had already closed for the day.
Like many places in New Zealand, the gate was open, so we drove in.
The guardhouse was our first stop. Here we received permission to enter and take a few photos. Note that the guard was a man, so our level of suspicion was up.
We drove in and easily found the beer kegs. However, no employees were in sight. So we continued our quest.
Around us was signage, similar to their billboard advertising. Its goal is to confirm the rumour that ‘gorgeous women’ not only run the brewery but are in fact, the only employees.
Hold on… let’s take a closer look. Does the blonde on the right look a lot like Jeff?
Bottom line and the answer …
Apparently, the particular commercial that played above wasn’t nearly as offensive as some of their billboards. Take a look at this list. Tui earned both the first and ninth slots for the ads that offended New Zealanders the most in 2009.
It occurred to me that it could simply be timing. The video was uploaded in Feb 2009, and the list came out three months later. Perhaps the research ended before this time.
Tui Brewery tours today
Today, much less of the Tui range brews on the premises. In fact, the main tower (at the top of this page and in all of the old television commercials) is now condemned due to not meeting current earthquake safety regulations.
The majority produced at this location now stays local.
If you want a glimpse intothe brewery’s 125+ year history, to see some of the iconic landmarks, and a solid understanding of the current process as you walk through this state-of-the-art brewery, there is a daily 40 min guided tour of the Tui Brewery. Sometimes, 100% Kiwi-owned bookme offers discount tours. Reserve your often discounted tour here.
After your tour, enjoy a brewery bar tasting including three beers of your choice from the tap.
Tui brewing process
If you are like me and don’t know much about brewing beer, then the sign is extremely helpful. Here are the steps in more detail:
- Malted barley and grains are ground and then fed into a mixing vat (mash tun) where the “special Mangatainoka River” water is added.
- Next, the solids are removed in the lautering vessel. What remains is called “wort”.
- The wort is boiled as the hops are added (the timing here determines the flavour, aroma and bitterness) and then the new mixture is sent to a whirlpool tank before the yeast is added to activate the fermentation.
- Finally, the particulates are filtered out and the beer is put into storage tanks.
- Eventually, kegs and bottles are filled, and the smooth beer is delivered to you.
What you need to know before visiting Tui Brewery
- Tui Brewery is located along State Highway 2 in Mangatianoka on the North Island. It’s easy to spot from the road as it looks like it does in their advertisements.
- It’s about 160 km northeast of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
- Tui Brewery is open nearly every day except on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
- Daily brewery tours are at 11.30 (subject to change).
- Tours and tastings are available at different prices. Reserve your often discounted tour here. .
- You must wear closed shoes if you are taking a brewery tour.
- Tui’s range at our last visit included: pale ale, lager, dark, pilsner, and crushed apple cider.
- Also on-site is a restaurant, museum, and a shop.
- If you get there late, like we did, and you want to spend the night visiting Tui Brewery in the morning, there are plenty of options in nearby Palmerston North.
- We have stopped here when driving from Wellington to Auckland and also from Wellington to Napier.
Save on your NZ trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or BookABatch (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Activity discounts: we check Bookme.com for discounts of up to 70% on activities.
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
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Have you done a Tui Brewery tour?
Lovely pictures, looks a fun place to visit 🙂
I love a brewery tour. In fact, we’re hoping to do one in Czech this weekend!
I can’t wait to read about it. Hopefully you will plan a bit better than we did and it will be open.
Indah Nuria Savitri
such a great place….the last photo is so hilarious :)..happy WW Rhonda..cheers..
we also made a stop at the TUI brewery and the tour was fully booked and the woman selling the tickets didn’t look like the ones in the add. She could have been their granny 🙂
Though arguably sexist, that a clever, funny marketing strategy. Looks like you found a nice, handsome fellow to take photos of in lieu of going inside for a tour.
Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly
Brewery tours are always fun, I haven’t done this one, I’ll have to check it out when I am there! I’m hoping it’s all in good fun, but the ladies do help sell beer!
When are you headed to New Zealand? It’s a bit off the beaten path, unless you are driving up to Napier from Wellington.
I bet that is a fun place to visit.
I don’t take offense, though I am sure there are some that get uptight over these kinds of things. I would rather see gorgeous women trying to sell beer over “Davina” doing it any day of the week lol.
They don’t make it here in the US – maybe the women aren’t pretty enough to meet their standards.
I think depicting beautiful women is fine if it’s not seductive/sensual. Some of these women are portraying that and some aren’t. That puts me off. It seems low class and can bring the wrong attention to these women if they really do work there.
I’m betting you would not have found the women inside… you may have to go back and let us know ; p lol!
It’s at the bottom of the island, we are at near the top. It’s about an 8 hour drive. We were just passing through exploring the island. Don’t know that we will ever be back.
Really cool to be able to visit a brewery. A pity that you didn’t get to go on a tour as it was closed.
We toured Guinness too, great view there, and we just missed Tom Cruise tapping by a day. 😉 I’m not offended by the commercial.
Wow, a day late to see Tom Cruise. Too bad. That could have been the highlight of your tour, certainly a “great view.”
That view from the bridge is lovely!
That is a funny commercial. As long as it taste good, who cares to makes it?
Did you ever find the beer! Wow.
That’s too funny. I’m not familiar with this brand.
They have commercials that sell burgers like that so not much different.
Looks like fun – maybe you can go back for the tour?
my husband did a tour of the Budweiser plant once.
Happy WW 🙂
I try not to take offense at such things. It’s all in good fun. Yeah, that blonde does look a lot like your hubby! lol I am willing to bet that the actual brewers don’t look like those women, but the tour guides might! 🙂
That looks like a great place to go. I’ve never been to a brewery – ever. I would like to someday. That photo with your hubby is funny.
Great photos. Love it. Very nice.
I loved the video. I think it’s just good clean fun and no offense to women. The men looked pretty stupid however.
Have a fabulous day Rhonda. 🙂
Looks like a very interesting place. This would be a great experience.
Have a lovely day!!
It was fun, even closed. I guess we were lucky the gate was left open and the person we did see said it was okay to have a look around.
Well now things arent always what they seem. Cute video, great old buildings!!
Feed Me Dearly
LOL, this commercial… It’s a fine line they’re treading. The place looks beautiful, though!
When we first moved to New Zealand, we used to flick the channels to look for the commercials. They are hilarious and so often pushing the line here.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Makes me want to take a tour! I think it’s all just in good fun.
I agree with Steve that the buildings are often interesting architecturally – NZ is rather behind in attitudes though… YAM xx
Yes, in many ways it was the “behind the times” that attracted us to New Zealand in the first place. This just isn’t one of those time.
April - My Bizarre Family
Beautiful pictures! Looks like a fab place to visit!
It was a beautiful area. Just around the corner was an adorable baby cow at the fence to add to the magic of the area.
Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)
Always nice to see how things are made. Sad that they are closed as that would have been a nice thing to see how spirits are made! #ww
By the looks of that ad some aren’t heheh!
Fab view of the river
Breweries always look like iconic building don’t they this one included, that last photo cracked me up it’s a shame the bottle isn’t really there heheh!
Have a pinttastic week & thanks for driving by 😉