After agreeing to buy the remaining 50 percent stake it did not own, New Zealand’s largest farmland fund, Southern Pastures has taken full ownership of the company made famous for its chocolate milk frenzy, Lews Road Creamery.
Started by Peter Cullinane in his kitchen in 2012, Lewis Road Creamery is now stocked in major supermarkets throughout Aotearoa as well as in Whole Foods and other stores in the United States and Woolworths in Australia.
In 2014, Lewis Road Creamery became a social media sensation when Kiwis scooped up its bottles of chocolate milk the minute they hit the shelves.
An initial stake in Lewis Road Creamery was bought by Southern Pastures, which owns and operates 20 farms in the Waikato and Canterbury, in 2017 and it has since built up its shareholding. It has now acquired the remaining share of the business for an undisclosed sum.
"To see the brand mature safely in the hands of investors who are farmers of such integrity and quality is a fantastic conclusion,” expressed Cullinane, who added that it has been an incredible journey from starting in his home.
General Manager, Nicola O-Rourke will continue to manage the day-to-day running of Lewis Road Creamery. As part of the deal, Cullinane will step down from his roles at the company.
"We're proud to take on the responsibility of building on it to produce the best premium dairy products New Zealand has to offer,” commented Prem Mann, Southern Pastures executive chairman and Lewis Road board member.
Stipulating grass-fed, free-range, climate-change mitigation, human welfare, animal welfare, GMO-free, palm products free, growth hormones free, antibiotic stewardship, and environmental sustainability requirements, Southern Pastures’ farms produce milk under this stringent, independently certified 10 Star Certified Values Program.
Lewis Road Creamery already uses premium milk produced under Southern Pastures 10 Star programme in its grass-fed butter.
Southern Pastures will appoint an advisory board to be chaired by current Lewis Road board director Alison Barrass and will include California based NZ Grass Fed Milk products director, Deborah Rolf. The board of Southern Pastures, chaired by Maan and including former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie, Phillip Wight, and Taari Nicholas will become the board of Lewis Road.