Air NZ Decision to Ditch MOA Disappointing

Air NZ ditches MOA contract

Air New Zealand's decision to drop Kiwi craft brewer MOA and serve only foreign-owned beer is a disappointing move from the national Carrier, a marketing expert says.

Air New Zealand will stop serving beer and cider made by NZX-listed MOA on Flights and in Koru lounges just one year into a three-year contract.

MOA chief executive Geoff Ross said Air New Zealand told the company it wanted to move to one beer supplier.

With MOA being phased out by Air New Zealand, big brewer Lion Nathan - owned by Japanese beverage giant Kirin - becomes the Carrier's sole beer supplier.

Evolve Marketing managing director Brandon Wilcox said it would be disappointing if Air New Zealand was supplied solely by Lion Nathan.

"As the national Carrier I would expect Air New Zealand to support New Zealand brands rather than allowing themselves to be brought out by a multi-national brand," Willcox said.

The Air New Zealand contract would have had a positive effect on MOA's brand, which would continue into the future, just to a lesser extent, he said.

"There will be some halo effect that will persist," Wilcox said.

Ironically in Air New Zealand's 75th anniversary exhibition, on display at Te Papa, a virtual "cabin of the future" features a computer generated animation of a giant MOA walking down the Aircraft aisle as seen through Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles worn by visitors.

University of Auckland business school professor Roderick Brodie said Air New Zealand's contract with MOA would have been more valuable for the craft brewer than the Airline.


"There's only a slot for one or two beers there and so if they can be there then that is really very good exposure for them," Brodie said.

Having MOA served inFlight made international tourists aware of the brand and was likely to make them buy more MOA products, he said.

"If they enjoyed a MOA on the plane then they would certainly want to have a repeat experience."

Ross said Air New Zealand would phase MOA out of its beverage range over the next three months.

Air New Zealand would not comment on why it cancelled the contract with MOA.

Ross said the partnership had been a good brand association for MOA but financially it was not a great money-maker.

"From a business point of view it is a blessing in disguise as there was little or no margin," Ross said.

MOA had developed a lightweight aluminium bottle for its beer stocked on Air New Zealand Flights.

Society of Beer Advocates president David Wood said Air New Zealand should showcase a range of New Zealand beer.

"It would be good to have our national Carrier showcasing the huge range of beer that's now available in New Zealand rather than just a few generic international lagers," Wood said.

MOA was an innovative brewer making "brilliant beers", he said.

Air New Zealand tying itself to one brewery, Lion Nathan, was limiting variety for customers, he said.

Koru member Peter Griffin said his beer of choice in the Koru lounge was Steinlager Pure but he would also miss having MOA as an option.

"We'll be sad to see them go," Griffin said.

MOA had a prominent presence in the Koru lounge which got Griffin into trying other types of MOA beers, he said.

"They looked beautiful in the fridge."

MOA shares were up 1 cent to 42c in early afternoon trading.


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