Newspaper Article 2019 – Our hospitality veteran honoured

Our hospitality veteran honoured
Blair Voorend

Basil Diack, the trailblazing former proprietor of the iconic Victoria Hotel in Napier and a founding director of Hawkes Bay Independent Brewery, has been inducted into the Hospitality New Zealand Hall of Fame.

The Hospitality New Zealand Hall of Fame is made up of individuals who have made significant contributions to the Hospitality Industry, who are admired and respected by their peers and exemplify excellence and dedication to the industry.

With a career spanning 61 years, Diack is still a leading figure in the Hawke’s Bay Hospitality scene.

“I am delighted to accept this honour,” Diack said.

“Hospitality has been in my blood all my working life and it’s wonderful to be recognised in this way.”

He was awarded the honour at the Hospitality New Zealand Conference from October 15-17 in Hawke’s Bay at the Napier Convention Centre.

Diack’s father bought the Victoria Hotel in 1957 and after two years travelling overseas, Diack returned home to join his family at the “Vic”, in what was the start of his stellar career.

At that time the breweries had a monopoly over liquor sales in hotels and public bars and Diack along with others, fought that monopoly, representing the independent operators and instigating “suggesting prices for drinks.”

He was pivotal in setting up Hawke’s Bay Independent Breweries in 1994, and with his business partners, they established the first true competitor to the bigger industry players.

Selling the Hotel in 1995, Diack then spent three years in partnership at the Meeanee Hotel, where he became fully involved with his beloved Independent Brewery and in 2007 the brewery plant was moved from Onekawa to its present site in Meeanee.

In a first for the Southern Hemisphere, The Filter Room was launched there, selling product directly from the Brewery site in a boutique tasting style, which is popular today. This cemented the future for the brand, gave beer and cider more profile, and attracted more visitors to the venue.

In 2016 he sold his share in the Brewery and remained on the staff. He’s known as the “Brewery Ambassador” and the oldest, most experienced sales rep in the country, as well as a loyal and genuine friend with a unique sense of humour.

Hospitality New Zealand Acting CEO Julie White says, Of all the individual Hawke’s Bay operators, Basil Diack was the most vocal, committed to keeping profitability up, especially for the independent operators and he is still a champion for the industry today.”

Diack went to his first conference meeting in 1976 and became branch president that year, holding the position for 20 years. He was on the national committee of management from 1980 and its successor the national board until 1994.

He was then made a Life Member of the Hawke’s Bay Association in 1993 and in 2012 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement for service to Hawke’s Bay Hospitality.

Photo caption – Basil Diack at the Hawke’s Bay Brewing Company, Meeanee in 2015.
Photo/Warren Buckland

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Newspaper article

Date published

18 October 2019

Creator / Author

  • Warren Buckland
  • Blair Voorend


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


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