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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts]

Cordial Manufacturers

Cordial Manufacturers.

Sharpe Brothers' Cordial Factory, 130 Moray Place, opposite the Technical Schools, Dunedin. This factory is a two-storey building, constructed partly of brick, and has a floor area of about 5000 square feet. The specialty of the business is putting up hop beer, ginger beer, etc., in one-gallon stoneware bottles. For this branch of manufacture Messrs Sharpe Brothers have a thoroughly modern plant, which includes coppers and vats. The most valuable recipes obtainable, and as used by the most reputable firms in England, are possessed by the
Mssrs Sharpe Bros.' Premises.

Mssrs Sharpe Bros.' Premises.

page 299 firm. In addition to this, the firm adopts a special formula, which has the effect of enabling the beverages to retain their briskness and other refreshing qualities, provided the cork is always replaced immediately after any portion of the contents has been drawn off. The firm uses only the very best materials, and strictly adheres to the use of the finest selected Nelson hops, the best root-ginger and genuine cane sugar. Saccharin and other chemical substances have always been strictly excluded from the manufacture of the beverages prepared by the Messrs Sharpe. Extreme cleanliness prevails in all departments of the factory, and the bottles are cleaned with apparatus specially provided for the purpose. The firm's waggons are specially adapted to the carriage and delivery of its gallon bottles, and the horses and waggons together take place amongst the smartest turnouts in Dunedin. Medical men, lawyers, clergymen, farmers, mechanics, and the proprietors of hotels, workshops and factories are amongst those who buy and use the beverages made at Sharpe ‘Brothers’ factory, and these excellent drinks are rapidly dispelling the prejudices which many persons have had against temperance beverages. It is worth while to recall in this connection an observation made by one respected Dunedinite. He had, he said, always held the opinion that hop-beers, ginger beers, and so forth, were nothing but “wish-wash, and that Prohibition should not be brought about until genuine substitutes for stimulating liquors could be offered to the people; but, having tried Sharpe Brothers' hop beer, he declared the ideal substitute had been found, and that the adoption of No License would now entail no serious inconvenience. The firm makes many beverages. “Ye Olde Style” ginger beer is made according to a recipe used in the household of a celebrated English statesman, and is indeed a beverage of the highest order. A specialty amongst the cordials is the A1 ginger brandy, Messrs Sharpe being the only manufacturers of this brand in New Zealand. As their hop beer takes the place of intoxicating beers and ales, so is this A1 ginger brandy acknowledged to be a genuine substitute for spirituous liquors; and for colds, fainting fits, etc., its medicinal virtues are even superior to those of alcohol. The firm also turns out an excellent vinegar, which is unsurpassed for table or pickling purposes. Sharpe Brothers undoubtedly confer a boon on the public of Dunedin and Otago by offering such pure and wholesome beverages, which are sold at very reasonable prices, and the public appreciation of the service thus rendered is such that a prosperous future is assuredly in store for this young and enterprising firm.
Mr. John Sharpe was born at Millom, Cumberland, England, in 1870. When he was eighteen years of age his father died, and three years later his mother also passed away; and as he was the eldest of a family of eight, he supported and saw to the bringing up of his brothers and an only sister. In 1803 he married Miss Tilly Hocken, daughter of Mr Joseph Hocken, a prominent Wesleyan of Millom. For a time he was engaged in mining pursuits, and after a course of study, under Professor Lawn, now Principal of the Kimberley School of Mines, obtained Government certificates for both the elementary and advanced stages of the principles of mining, under the British Board of Education. In 1895 he, along with two younger brothers, established a mineral water and cordial business at Millom; but, owing to his ill-health, he was advised to seek a more genial climate. Therefore, in 1900, he left the business in charge of a younger brother and emigrated to New Zealand, to which his brother Percy had previously emigrated. While in England, Mr. Sharpe always took a keen interest in politics, and was a trustee of the Millom Liberal Association. He is a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites, and was secretary and also district representative for some time, of the Hope of Millom Tent. He is a life long total abstainer, an energetic temperance worker, a Sunday school teacher of long standing, and also a member of the Primitive Methodist Church. Mr. Sharpe's tastes are musical, and in 1903 he was appointed by the National Temperance League to organise a contingent of eighty voices to assist a choir of 5000 to sing at the National Temperance Demonstration held at the Crystal Palace, London. For some years he was conductor of the choir in one of the churches in his Home circuit, and after arriving in New Zealand he acted in the same capacity at the Abbotsford Primitive Methodist Church. After proving the climate of New Zealand to be more suit
Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. J. Sharpe.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. J. Sharpe.

able than that of England to his health, he and his brother opened a cordial making business in Dunedin in 1903, and now trade as Sharpe Brothers.
Mr. Percy Wilson Sharpe was born in 1880, at Millom, Cumberland, England. He gained an intimate knowledge and experience in the cordial business under his brother, and also acquired a knowledge of butchering, so that, on arriving in New Zealand in 1900. he engaged with Mr. A Rennie, butcher, George Street, Dunedin, as head shopman, and also acted for a time in the same capacity for Mr. E. F. Lawrence, whose shop is reputed to be the largest butcher's shop in the Southern Hemisphere. Subsequently, on Messrs Blackwod Brothers taking over Mr. Rennie's business, he returned to the former shop until he joined his brother in the cordial business. He took an active part in the formation of the Butchers' Union, and is deeply interested in the political affairs of the colony, especially as regards labour, temperance and educational legislation. He is a lifelong abstainer, and a member of the Order of Rechabites. The Primitive Methodist Church is the church of his adoption, and he is a Sunday school teacher and local preacher in that society.

Thomson and Co. , Aerated Water and Cordial Manufacturers, Crawford, Bond, and Police Streets, Dunedin. Telephone, 187. Bankers, Bank of Australasia. Branches, Thomson, Lewis and Co., Wellington, Wanganui, and Otaki: Mitchell and Co., Invercargill. This business was established by the late Mr. Alexander Thomson, in conjunction with two other gentlemen, in 1866; a few years later his partners retired, and thereafter Mr. Thomson continued sole proprietor. The factory and offices are in a large, three storey brick building with cellar, and have 180 feet frontage to Crawford Street, the whole being admirably adapted for the purposes of the business. The principal machinery was made to the order of the firm by Messrs. Wayward, Tyler and Co., of London, the motive power coming from water and gas engines. Thirty page 300 hands are employed at the Dunedin establishment of the firm, and thence customers in all parts of the South Island are supplied. Messrs. Thomson and Co. are large importers of all lines required, that cannot be produced in New Zealand, such as bottles, corks, essences, and extracts. A specialty of the business is the “Wai-rongoa” mineral water, which has a large sale in the Colony, and is exported to Australia. The springs are situated at North Taieri, where the firms owns 160 acres of land, and where suitable buildings have been erected to conserve these natural medicinal waters, which are prepared for the market in large quantities. Mr. Thomson was born in 1845 in Linlithgowshire, Scotland, where he was educated. He came to Port Chalmers in 1860, by the ship “Silistria.” The business is now claimed to be the most important of its kind in New Zealand; and the first holds several exhibition medals, including four special gold ones, for the excellence of its manufacturers. Mr. Thomson died at his residence, Halfway Bush, on the 23rd of February, 1904.