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The History of a Real Beer

The year it happened

What happened


The God Father of Brewing in the Waikato, determined Scot Charles Innes arrives in New Zealand




Charles Innes starts a Brewery in Ngaruawahia 


Brewery site was developed in Cook St, Hamilton East 


Charles Innes marries the Welsh born Mary Jane Lewis





Fire destroyed the brewery section of the Hamilton East property, which then consolidated around the Hamilton West site, on the corner of Tisdall and Bridge Streets


Charles Innes loses his life after mysteriously drowning while bathing in one of his vats


Mary Innes went into partnership with her son Charles Innes and they operated the business called C L Innes & Co


Registered as a private company C J Innes & Co Ltd





Willie the Waiter begins work at the brewery, here he is depicted  as a cartoon character serving not martinis but beer


Name changed to Waikato Breweries Ltd

1950 Waikato Green began life as Special Draught bottled by Waikato Breweries. At the same time, when Waikato was the proud holder of the Ranfurly Shield, the brewery began its long association with Waikato rugby
1951 Waikato Breweries merged with L D Nathan & Co Ltd
1953 Full Waikato support is given to the Mooloo boys during their Shield tenure
1956 Waikato defeat the Springboks 14-10 at Rugby Park Hamilton to take the coveted Springboks head of the tourists
1957 Waikato Brewery wins the International Brewing Competition in London
1967 Waikato Breweries introduce a new "Pleasure Pak" which holds two dozen 12-oz bottles of Waikato Green
1971 Waikato Breweries was asked to provide some fine Waikato product for filming of an episode of "Trouble Shooters" in England
1974 Waikato provides some supplies for the MHNZS Waikato for a party those aboard were throwing for visiting United States Navy ship “Reasoner” 
1987 Waikato Green makes its debut in an aluminium can, and is also available in 50 litre kegs
1989 Waikato Brewery Bridge St plant closes. Production of Waikato Draught is moved to the Lion Breweries factory in Auckland 
1994 Waikato 'Chainsaw' ad is launched and was voted Best Ad at the Fair Go Ad Awards.  It became one of the most loved commercials in the Waikato Regiion even to this day.

Willies Box established at Rugby Park Hamilton, and becomes recognised as Willie's Corner

1998 Waikato Draught joins forces with the Waikato District Council and Westpac Trust to help raise funds for flood relief. Nearly $14,000 was raised
2002 A new Willie's Box is established at the new Waikato Stadium, continuing the traditional venue of Waikato Draught Supporters
2005 Waikato Draught won a Gold Medal and won Best in Class in the NZ Draught beer category at the BrewNZ awards 
2005 In association with  The Rock 93FM, the "Change your name to Waikato Draught" promotion was designed to find the ideal Waikato lad.  From June 1st 2005, Ed Haunui changed his name to Waikato Draught and was put on a pedestal as Waikato Draught's truest and most loyal ambassador
2006 The Waikato Rugby team take out the innaugral Air New Zealand Cup