Speights was founded by James Speight, Charles Greenslade, and William Dawson. Speight's was first brewed on 4 April 1876 in Dunedin at the present Rattray St site. Since then the Speight's brand has been firmly planted in the deep south of New Zealand.
The Speight's brand was removed in August 1960 and replaced with the Lucky brand. However, the public response was less than favourable, so the Speight's brand was brought back into production in October of that year.
Speight's distinctive label features three eight-pointed stars. These stars come from both the original provincial arms of Otago, and the fact that Speights was awarded gold medals at the 1877 Brewery awards in three different countries.
Traditionally a very regional brew, the wild popularity of the "Southern Man" series of advertisements has led to Speight's undergoing something of a boom and it can now be found throughout the country.
The Speight's brewery also makes Speight's Old Dark, and the Speights Craft Range of handmade beer, including Distinction Ale, Porter, Pilsner, Pale Ale, and Harvest Gold, but none of these comes close to its Gold Medal Ale in popularity.
Speight's has also introduced Speight's Summit, a lager brewed with all natural ingredients, with the slogan being, "Don't mess with nature".
On 16 April 2007 Speight's announced the Speight's Great Beer Delivery via Samoa, Panama, the Bahamas and New York to London.
Last year Speight's received more than 500 emails for New Zealanders in the UK missing Speight's.
Speight's has used the slogan "Pride of the south" for many years.
At the site of their Dunedin plant the company has installed a tap that pumps water up from a spring deep below the brewery, thus providing fresh, pure water free of charge. This tap was at the centre of an April Fool's joke in 1998 when the Otago Daily Times said that, just for that day, Speights beer would flow, free of charge, from that tap.