Cathay Pacific’s Betsy Beer is coming to New Zealand flights


Cathay Pacific’s unique craft beer – brewed to taste better at 35,000 feet – is coming to a flight near you.

The Hong Kong airline announced today that it plans to introduce its craft brew to flights between Hong Kong and New Zealand, as wells on services to Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan, and Tel Aviv.

Betsy Beer – named in honour of the airline’s first plane – was rolled out in March and April for business and first class passengers travelling between Hong Kong and Britain.
Created in a partnership with Hong Kong Beer Co, the ingredients include a lychee-like fruit and Hong Kong honey. (full article)

Hawke’s Bay winery turning its hand to craft beer


For the last few months the winery has had two new beverages for customers to sample, but instead of grapes this variety is flavoured with hops and malt.

The brewers of the Trinity Hill IPA and session ale beers are better known as the winery’s cellar master Sebastian Hanse and logistics and inventory manager Roy Kamphuis. (full story)

Amber liquid turns gold for Waipu brewery


Milton Mewett, Geoff Gwynne, Jason Bathgate and Clayton Gwynne, from Waipu’s McLeod’s Brewery, with their gold-medal-winning Tropical Cyclone Double IPA. Photo / Michael Cunningham

There’s a beer revolution going on at Waipu, with the owners of McLeod’s Brewery determined to change the drinking habits of the country into appreciating fine craft beer.

And the plan is already paying dividends, with McLeod’s Brewery coming away with three medals – including a gold – for its brews at the weekend’s prestigious New World Beer and Cider Awards.

The brewery won gold for its Tropical Cyclone Double India Pale Ale, which certainly tickled the tastebuds of the competition judges.

“Head brewer Jason Bathgate has worked wonders with the brews in the past year, and the Tropical Cyclone is right up there alongside New Zealand’s best double IPAs. [It has] huge tropical fruit aromas with the slightly musky, dank smell you get from ripe papaya. Great length, well balanced, clean and juicy,” were some of the comments from this year’s panel of independent judges. (full story)

Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson’s surprise as Epic Armageddon clinches coveted IPA trophy again


Craft beer expert Michael Donaldson chaired the judging of this year’s New World Beer & Cider Awards. The author of two books on New Zealand beer was surprised when Epic Armageddon won the coveted IPA trophy for the second year in a row.

Were you surprised when Epic Armageddon won Best IPA for the second year in a row?

I couldn’t believe it because the IPA class is so competitive. It’s a blind tasting so we don’t know who has won until afterwards. It’s also won the Brewers Guild awards twice in a row. It’s won in Sweden and Australia. It just keeps coming out on top.

Epic owner Luke Nicholas gets his hops from America. Is that unusual for a New Zealand brewer?

Yes. The majority of our brewers use local hops. There’s enough for everybody despite high demand. Luke uses US hops because he started out brewing American-style beers. They just have the flavour profile he’s after. Parrot Dog Pandemonium won Best Pilsner with Australian hops even though New Zealand pilsners are the thing at the moment for their tropical passionfruit aromas. (full story)

Auckland brewers rule at Beer and Cider Awards


The hoppy notes of India Pale Ale were one of the big winners at the Beer and Cider Awards this year. The other was Auckland.

The city is proving itself a beer powerhouse, with Auckland breweries taking out 10 of the 12 Champion awards for beers and ciders.

Judges blind-tested more than 500 beers and ciders to pick the winners of the awards, which are run by New World. Criteria for the winning tipples include drinkability, mouthfeel, balance and technical excellence.

Indian Pale Ale (IPA) is a favourite of craft brewers and the class was hotly contested this year. Judges sipped their way through more than 70 entries from 45 breweries from around the country, with Onehunga-based brewery Epic’s Armageddon IPA winning for the second year in a row. (full story)

Boutique beer heaven

The Southland palate received a crash course in craft beer on Saturday, with brewers from all over the country attending the inaugural Hop’n’Vine beer festival.

Some of New Zealand’s top craft breweries were showing their wares at the event, which was held at the ILT Stadium Southland Velodrome.

Downie said the festival was an opportunity build the profile of craft beer in the region, and in particular showcase Southland brewers.  (full story)


More money, more problems – Kiwi craft beer growing pains


What happens when your hobby and passion become your business? And what happens when business booms?

The incredible growth of craft beer in the past decade has created a difficult dilemma for many of the nation’s craft brewers, who suddenly find themselves running multimillion-dollar operations.

The craft beer boom has transformed the industry.

Statistics released today show total beer consumption is growing again for the first time in years.

The high alcohol category – which tends to reflect the craft beer end of the market – has doubled in the past five years and rose 17 per cent last year.

But some breweries have been growing much faster. (full story)

Craft beer judge: ‘Always drink local’

Why should people try craft/local brews? Apart from some styles, beer tastes best fresh. Always drink local, as the freshest beer has travelled the shortest time from fermenter to face! Also, NZ beer is no longer only brown and fizzy: Craft brewers produce such a wide variety of flavours and there is a beer for every palate, you must go out and find your favourite.


Big brewery ownership a two-sided coin for craft brewers looking to sell


DB Breweries managing director Andy Routley, left, and Tuatara founder and master brewer Carl Vasta at Tuatara’s brewery in Paraparaumu.

“About bloody time.”

Those were the first three words out of my mouth when I saw craft brewer Tuatara had been sold to Heineken-owned DB.

The Paraparaumu company has been linked to all three of New Zealand’s big brewing companies – Lion, DB and Independent Liquor – for years, and was always going to be an attractive buy after winning champion New Zealand brewery in 2016. (full story)