About Us

The Queenstown Ale House Building

This former Queenstown Council Chamber, built in 1880 and de  signed by a prominent Invercargill architect F W Burwell, who   had earlier designed the Courthouse and old Library across the road. The builder was Mr D McKenzie, and the building cost was £915. Occupying a prominent corner site, the building forms part of a precinct with the Foresters Lodge next door and the old Library and Courthouse opposite. Following the Council’s to new premises, the somewhat rundown former Council building and Foresters Lodge were purchased and re-developed to reflect their former glory of the late 1800s. A unique feature of the Queenstown Speight’s Ale House is the old narrow vault, where all the original town records were stored. It has now been converted into an intimate part of the dining area at the Ale House.


Like the Speight’s Ale House building, Speight’s has a long history. In 1876 James Speight, Charles Green slade and William Dawson set up Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin. Situated on the same site today in Rattray St, Dunedin, Speight’s is the Pride of the South.

The Founders

In 1876, in the bustling southern city of Dunedin, James Speight’s brewing dream became a reality. With a couple of mates, Charles Greenslade and William Dawson, he purchased an evacuated bottling and malt plant, where all three had worked, and set up his own brewery. The three men made a great team and they wasted no time in getting down to business – in fact, they put gold medals, hence the naming of“Speight’s Gold Medal Ale” in 1893.