Tuesday 10 August 2010

Bootleggers and Baptists: 1950s NZ Restaurant edition

@HerrSchnapps points me to this obituary:
Dutch-born Mr Groen spent seven years fighting liquor laws before he became the first to win the right to serve wine, beer and cocktails in restaurants.
Mr Groen arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands in 1952, and was amazed to find that wine and beer were only served with food in hotels while the bars were open.

An alliance between the Temperance Union and brewery interests kept liquor out of restaurants.

In 1954, Mr Groen opened the Gourmet in Auckland, serving iced water to diners as soon as they arrived.

Those who smuggled in bottles under their coats were able to use those glasses to drink alcohol.

After Gourmet then opened the Sapphire Room, which featured live music and a satirical show on the liquor laws.
If anyone can point me to a decent writeup on this history, I would love to read it. Especially anything that gives a bit more detail on how the brewers worked with the Temperance folks to knife the liquor industry.


  1. On the liquor industry, temperance etc, Conrad Bollinger's 'Grog's Own Country' (1967) is a classic.

    The first history of the NZ restaurant industry (written by Perrin Rowland) is about to be published by AUP. See this link:

  2. Awesome, thanks! Will have to check both out.