Although Corbans owned three wine shops, their policy was not to increase the number. Instead they distributed their wines through what was known at the time as ‘the wholesale trade’. These were regionally owned and based beer, wine and spirits merchants that supplied hotels but were also major retail outlets. The private company Corbans Wines Ltd was formed in 1963. In 1964, as Dick Scott recounts, ten of these regionally based merchants were invited to take up a 19 per cent shareholding in Corbans and representatives of three of them were invited to join its board.
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The geography of these ten merchants encompassed the main regions and cities of New Zealand and seemed a sensible approach to the company maintaining their wholesale and retail distribution.
By 1972 the regionally based wine and spirit companies were themselves being reorganised. Douglas Myers was bringing together New Zealand Wines and Spirits Co.
Ltd, a company owned 50/50 by Campbell and Ehrenfried and New Zealand Breweries. In the process, NZW&S acquired W. and R. Smallbone of Wellington as well as two of Corbans regional merchants. These developments weakened Corbans distribution network. One commercial battlefield for the Montana-Corbans skirmish was in Gisborne.
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