First they came …

It looks like 2016 kicked off with a focus on alcohol, and the reduction of how, when, where and how much is available. The follow are some articles of interest, and commentary relating to alcohol and events from the last week or so.

How far are we from what is happening in Sydney? This is a long article but well researched and written. It’s worth the time to read it all, so you are informed and ready for what could possibly happen in New Zealand in the future.

Sydney’s fun police have put out the light of the nightlife. The city’s a global laughing stock

“There’s a whole Orwellian nomenclature that has been made up to deliberately keep the general public in a constant state of confusion that some terror has swept across the city: “king hit”, “coward punch”, “alcopop”, “alcohol-related violence”. Being quite a respectable lot, we’ve all been guilt shamed into thinking that something in the Australian psyche is ugly and that mixed with alcohol we turn into raging brutes, or that by simply having fun somehow we’ve been breaking some great moral code, the 11th commandment: thou shalt not have fun.

But that’s all a load of rubbish and in actual fact, you’ve done nothing wrong at all. In fact you’ve been very well behaved. Sydney ranks more safe than Bordeaux, France, or Lausanne, Switzerland, for crime.”

NSW Police Questions 10 William Street Over a Wine List

“So according to NSW POLICE FORCE our blackboard with what we are pouring by the glass is promoting unsavoury behaviour. SYDNEY WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING.”

Wellington Sevens

But at its peak, it brought in $15 million in economic benefits to Wellington.

“Hospitality NZ Wellington president Jeremy Smith said hotel bookings were strong over the sevens weekend, but spending at the city’s bars was not as great as hoped.”

6 arrests (both days)
58 evicted (day one)
35 treated by Wellington Free Ambulance (day one)
(note crowd was only 42% of previous years sellouts 14,000 Saturday, 15,500 Sunday)

Past statistics for the Wellington Sevens (towards the bottom of the page)

Sevens fans turned away after breath-test

“Our staff conduct an assessment on every patron coming into the venue on under the new Sale and Supply of Liquor Act. It defines intoxication. It lists a number of factors,” Mr Harmon told NZME.

These include slurring and dishevelment and any two of those could see someone turned away.

Breath tests were not used as part of that assessment.

“It was only provided as an option to the patron if they dispute our assessment,” he said.

“It’s only used for resolving disputes. We actually don’t use it to assess intoxication, we look for visible signs of intoxication.

“There’s no specific limit, it’s simply a tool for us to show the patron that our assessment is correct.”


Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said breath tests were only used to confirm whether someone was drunk”

WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF DRUNK IN NEW ZEALAND? Is it the same as the BAC of 0.05 for driving a car? Is it the same as defined in the USA of BAC 0.08?

Auckland Nines

NRL Auckland Nines to follow Wellington Sevens in breath testing fans

“First the Wellington Sevens, now the NRL Auckland Nines. The PC brigade will strike another major sporting event with the Nines set to breath-test punters upon entry.

Those too drunk will be barred from the two-day event, which hosts 16 NRL teams in 31 games on Saturday and Sunday, at Eden Park.”


ODI NZ vs Australia Eden Park

Is this food? Lab grown meat?
Is this food? Lab grown meat?

I went to the first ODI between NZ and Australia at Eden Park. The weather was perfect, game was exciting and company was great. I hadn’t been to watch the cricket for a number of years. Not since you could take a chilly bin with your own food and drinks in it.

OK straight to the point. The food and beverage selection on offer was extremely underwhelming. Plastic cups, I can understand and live with that. The beer though was industrial megaswill, or near beer. Why not have some offering of craft beer or beer with flavour, something worth tasting? I’d guess that easily 10% of the people there would have been craft beer drinkers.

Eden Park could increase attendance by lifting their food and beverage offerings. It’s a turn off to go to the cricket for 8 hours and have to put up with such a poor offerings. How hard would it be to sell some of the stands around the stadium to craft brewers and food truck operators. It would be amazing, how much better of a time would you have?

You pay to see world-class sporting events and get offered the cheapest food and beverages. Such a shame.

Then there was this article below,  I didn’t notice on the day. Then again I drank very little beer. (one observation I did notice was the number of guys that had chosen to drink wine. Guessing a large number it was for the alcohol content, but there must have been some that drank it for the flavour. I know I was seriously contemplating the wine).

Sideswipe: Feb 05: Two cups, one fan

“Funny thing happened at the cricket on Wednesday,” writes Dave. “Halfway through the match the limit of beers you could buy at one time went from four down to two – normal procedure to stop people getting too rowdy as the game goes on. But this time as well as reducing the limit they also switched out the cups to a significantly smaller size [pictured]. You could say this is also a safety measure but not when they keep charging the same price of $8.50. Nice of them to try to keep people safe, but not so sure they should be ramping up their margins because they think people will be too drunk to notice!”


Above are observation of what is currently happening. You need to ask questions about how far things should go to limit and control the public at events, and the responsible control of alcohol at events, and in bars. Food is an important part of drinking alcohol, beyond the joy and pleasure of consuming it. Better offerings are likely to be more inviting for people to want to consume them, Eden Park.  Then again I didn’t see any trouble or people who were showing obvious signs of being intoxicated.

New Zealand Beer Festival has just announced they are back for 2016. Lets hope things are more user friendly for the 2016 event. NZ Beer Festival 2014 Review

This is a little random. Or is it…?

Some links relating to this:

If you made it this far, well done.

Beervana changes hands

Beervana 2015The ownership of New Zealand’s largest craft beer festival, Beervana, has shifted from Cryer Malt to the Wellington Culinary Events Trust Inc. (WCET), the organisation that runs Visa Wellington On a Plate.

The nine-year old beer festival, which runs during Visa Wellington On a Plate every August, features over 60 breweries with approximately 200 beers showcased to 10,000-plus punters and trade who visit the two-day event.

Sarah Meikle, Chief Executive of WCET says it made perfect sense for the organisation to buy Beervana.

“Visa Wellington On a Plate serves up the best food and drink the region has to offer, and craft beer is a big part of what makes Wellington a culinary hot spot. There’s a growing thirst for craft beer with the category growing at 25% per year[1] and the majority of that growth is being driven by Wellington brewers.

“Beervana is a cornerstone event of Visa Wellington On a Plate and we’re really keen it continues to stay a big part of it. It helps bring more than $3 million[2] into the capital during the festival but it has the potential to be even bigger and better.”

David Cryer says he’s delighted to be passing over the Beervana reigns to WCET.

“Beervana really started to take off when it became part of Visa Wellington On a Plate. Our visitor numbers have risen considerably since then and will only grow more as the craft beer industry continues to strengthen.”

“It’s become a major event that takes hundreds of hours to organise and the time was right for me to move aside and let someone else take charge. WCET is passionate about the event, industry and has the structure to ensure Beervana’s continued success.”

Beervana will run this year from 14 – 15 August at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.


[1] New Zealand Craft Beer Industry, ANZ Bank, August 2014 (
[2] Beervana Economic Impact 2013, Wellington City Council, September 2013

The New Zealand Beer Festival 2015

NZBF15Hey there,

As you’ve probably figured out, The New Zealand Beer Festival is taking a break in 2015.

Every year we pick a date that will create the best experience to showcase your wares in Auckland, this year we don’t see a clear “to market” strategy, so we’re focussing our energy on 2016.

This year the Cricket World Cup takes over The Cloud and Shed 10 in February and March. Cruise ships all through April. That pushes us too deep into winter, and there’s just not sufficient space to hold every one indoors.

We investigated other venues around Auckland to host the event, but there’s nowhere to hold an event of our scale without incurring significant infrastructure costs, and we’re conscious of making the event work economically for you too.

We’ve secured a summer date back at the Cloud and Shed 10 for our 10th anniversary in 2016, and we’ll in touch in the coming months with stand availability. We’re amped to make it our best event yet.

We really want to thank you for your support over the last 8 years, particularly 2014. Together we faced the challenge of cyclone Lusi and new licensing restrictions, but we got through and neither slowed our roll. You were great throughout.

Two sessions introduced the festival to a much wider range of customers, and the event attracted another record crowd. We really have seen massive growth in the craft beer sector since we started.

Thanks again team, you’ll hear from us soon as the downtime is going to give us more time to plan ahead and nail that 10th anniversary!

Andrew, David and Gideon

Local Council To Kill Beer Festivals in New Zealand?

On The LawnThere is a new beer festival “On The Lawn” looking to setup at the Mount for a 8th January Beer Festival.

I loved the Blues, Brew & BBQ’s event at the Mount. Shame the local council and police closed it down. It kind of all fell apart once they made it an R18 event, and kids and families couldn’t come any more. It seemed to be preloading cause the majority of the issues.

I really like beer festivals during summer time, where people are having a fun time, and sampling tasty beers in the sun.

Here are some details about “On The Lawn”

No beer over 5%abv ? If Epic was to go we would have ONE beer. So much for people being able to taste a range of different beers and flavours.

“FOOD – BEER – WINE” Question: Does the wine have to be 5% or below?

By controlling the ABV below 5% you are limiting the beer to mainstream industrial lagers, which the public have no respect for. They have no taste and you are just encouraging people to drink large volumes of flavourless beer.  This isn’t an environment to encourage education and sampling of new flavours and beer styles. The council is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for trouble by implementing this ABV limit.

Not sure how they have sorted this out with the council, after Blues & Brews was closed down, and Bay Brew Fest couldn’t get out of the gates.

Looking forward to more details, and possibly a great event at the Mount, during the coming summer.


Earlier in the year the “Bay Beer Fest” had to cancel their event due at a similar time and location, and made this statement:

Bay Beer Fest“We have had huge support from prospective exhibitors, the public, council, the venue, and liquor licencing.  However the opposition towards the event by Tauranga Police has been our stumbling block.  In order to do justice to the amazing event we have planned, this opposition will not realistically leave us time to work through the issues that have been raised, to deliver the event to the public by 4th January 2015.”





The last I heard about the “New Zealand Beer Festival 2015” in Auckland, was that the limit would be 6% abv for full serve of a beer. Last year the lines were too long because the small serve sizes of 165ml. I would expect they are going to have to do some awesome marketing and have some amazing value proposition to get people to come back after this year.


Dear Council, do you think that limiting the ABV will give you the outcome you want.

It will stop many of the educated, sophisticated beer drinkers from going, as they will be limited to beer with little flavour, or a very limited choice of beer with flavour at these lower ABV levels.

Anyway just some thoughts about how the powers that be, are reducing choice, manipulating and socially engineering the public, “for their own good”.

PROHIBITION – New Zealand 2020 (it only took 100 years)

WARNING: Random Rant Ahead.

WOW! I just can’t keep up with the walls closing in on alcohol in New Zealand. On every front alcohol is being attacked. Just small little bites, which by themselves the public seem to be accepting or totally unaware of. If you look at the big picture though things are changing fast, and how long before those in control achieve prohibition in New Zealand.

Prohibition 1920’s read this link.

Prohibition 2020’s the story starts here.

What’s happening out there that you should probably be thinking about:

  • Single Bottle Ban – no more single bottle sales (aimed at Craft Beer?) BOOO!
  • Police patrolling in pubs, potentially with video cameras
  • Seven’s and potentially other public events with alcohol bans
  • No more beer festivals?
  • Increased cost for a license
  • Increasing health warnings on labels

Tonight I was given the heads up about the “single bottle ban” which is part of the the impending Auckland Local Alcohol Policy Not sure whats in it but the preferred position paper gives you a rough idea.  

copsThursday 24th April – I had lunch at Vultures, everyone in the place was having lunch. Two police offices walked in, eye balled everyone, one looked at the license on the wall as the other one walked through including downstairs. They then slowly walked outside the door, and spent some time out there. Jarred went out and had a discussion with them. (I should follow-up to see what it was all about) It was done in a slightly intimidating way, for those in the bar.

That evening we had the Fresh Hop beer release event at the Lumsden. Late in the evening two police offices walked in, eye balled every one and looked at the license on the wall and then hung out in the garden bar for a while. Then walked back through the bar. Then they stood outside the door on Khyber Pass, until the manager went out. Again I don’t have the full story and should follow-up. Exactly the same as Vultures on the same day. Was this specifically aimed at Craft Beer Bars?

This is the first time I have ever experienced police walking through a bar in Auckland. And what was it about that day that I experienced it twice.

I understand that police are now allowed to video tap people that they think are intoxicated?

Seven’s liquor ban. I have a whole blog post drafted on this with statistics. Bottom line, this event brings in $18 million to the local Wellington economy, alcohol sales are down 50% over the last 5 years at the stadium. Everyone has a good time. There is a very small percentage of arrests and injuries, which must happen on an average Friday and Saturday night. Will an alcohol ban at the stadium reduce the harm from alcohol in the city to zero? What is the cost of this to the economy? Is it worth it?

Should alcohol be banned at major sporting events?

Should the police/liquor licensing be allowed to video tap at these public events to record all serving areas and people purchasing alcohol? Are there signs displayed any where notifying the public they are being filmed? What is happening to this footage? Being stored? For how long?

As for alcohol advertising at sporting events check out this post – Let’s make everything like the Rugby Sevens?

Beer Festivals – what are the chances the New Zealand Beer Festival will ever happen again? Seemed like it was luck to even happen this year, and wasn’t much fun with the security and policing. Why was this Auckland Beer Festival under the gun and the Christchurch Beer Festival was such a breeze? One law, multiple interpretations, and levels of enforcement.

Increased costs of holding a license to sell alcohol. Read this article New fees a big cost for some premises

Liquor Licensing Committee chair John Leggett said the new fee system was a result of the passing of the new acts, which was aimed at reducing harm from alcohol.

“As I understand it, one of the driving forces behind the change is the reference to the on and off-licences themselves . . . making sure the industry paid for the cost rather than the ratepayers.”

“As I understand it” doesn’t really sound like he fully understands what he is talking about.

How much were the ratepayers paying before for the cost of a liquor license?

How did they come up with how much each risk category pays?

For a large event with more than 400 people it would now cost $575, a medium event with between 100 and 400 people would cost $207 and a small event with less than 100 people would cost $63.25.

Who came up with these fees for events that need a special license?

Seems like revenue gathering , and the numbers just seem random, and it isn’t clear that they are tied to any costs that ratepayers had previously been covering. Read the article and try to come up with your own conclusion.

Dont Drink if PregnantNew Labelling – changes to our labels. Warnings are now going to be required on beer labels. At the cost to the brewer. The sucky thing is that small brewers have so many different beers and small label runs, and will have a bigger burden to get changes made. Extra cost to make sure pregnant women know they shouldn’t be drinking craft beer.

Did you know there are 1000 liquor ban areas in Auckland?

My vision of the future for Alcohol in New Zealand 2020

  • Every purchase of alcohol you make will be on video. The supermarket, bottle shops, sporting events, bars, restaurants and beer festivals. (actually it already is recorded, on video and on EFTPOS and credit card transactions)

  • Facial Recognition – each purchase will be recorded, the video will have facial recognition software run over it. A database of where you purchased and your financial transaction cross referenced.

  • Standard Drinks. Based on your purchases there will be a record of how many standard drinks you purchase in a week. You will be flagged and categorised in to risk groups. If you are purchasing (therefore drinking) more than recommended guidelines then there will be ramifications. Potentially your insurance company could be informed and your premiums go up, your doctor notified and on your next visit you could be talked to about your potential problem. Or even your employer or spouse?

How far could this all go before they just implement prohibition without anyone pushing back and saying hey that’s not cool. The above technology is available now, and this could already be happening.

Chipping away slowly slowly…

Please tell me I am wrong.

Discussion on Facebook 

UPDATE – 8 May 14
> Looks like the Council have defined it better – so might not be an issue for ‘craft’ after all (or should that be ’boutique’ and ‘handcrafted’)
> ‘Mainstream’ beer isn’t generally sold in single bottles anyway, so shouldn’t be affected.
> Still issues around profiling based on product type rather than the behaviour they are trying to address. Plus puts all the onus on the retailer not the person buying the product…

UPDATE – 10 May 14
I might have been a bit optimistic on the 2020 date, especially after reading

“Nearly 10,000 police computers were running Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system when mainstream support was axed last month, Police Minister Anne Tolley has confirmed.” 

BEER FEST – Great Kiwi Beer Festival 2014 – Review

I never got to writing anything about the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch, before I headed to the US.

Geoff Griggs pretty much summed it up with “On the downside – and there really wasn’t much to complain about”

Fritz & Maria wrote – Destination Woolston

The event was well attended, the rumoured number going around the event was that there were 14,000 people there. 12,500 pre-sold tickets with walk up sales available.

Compared to Auckland it was a lovely, relaxed day, with people enjoying themselves without the overt presence of security and police. When looking for security in the crowd you couldn’t see them, I was able to spot three at one point. I noticed a couple of police walking through the crowd mid afternoon. At the end of the event there were approx. 20 police walking from the back of the event following the crowd out the gate.

Yes there were a handful of dickheads who always have the smartass comments, and asking for free beer. But I’ve now concluded that these people are just like that anyway, with or without alcohol inside them.

One thing which was a concern was the glass size. We were selling 100ml sample and 285ml full serve. When you measured it the sample line was 100ml and the full serve was 200ml, with to the brim being 250ml. Oops.

Our Epic beers sold extremely well. Again surprised that the Lager sold out first (guess this sleeper of a beer if finally being discovered for the great beer that it is). For those that knew of Stone Brewing Co. they were overwhelmed, they didn’t know where to start, like kids in a candy store. Arrogant Bastard was the first to sell out, partly because of the name.

We had a great crew, and everything seemed to run super smooth considering the scale of our stand this year. 16 taps, 16 staff and 1500 litres of beer.

But the point made from this event was that the local police and liquor licensing didn’t go over the top with enforcement and it made for such an enjoyable event.

What the hell happened Auckland?

Christchurch you win.



BUSY – Brewing, Tap Takeover, Beer Fest, Brewing

Where to even start. There is so much going on in the next few days. Brewing a Black IPA, a Midweek Tap Takeover, Beer Festival in Christchurch, and a Fresh Hop beer.

Tues 25th – Fresh Hops – today the hops for the Auckland brewers were harvested in Wakefield, just outside Nelson. These fresh Waimea hops are being cooled down over night tonight. Tomorrow (Wed 26th) they will be packed up and put in a refrigerated truck and shipped overnight to Auckland. They are due for delivery at Steam Brewing Company on Friday 28th. #freshhopnz14 (brewing the beer on Monday 31st)

Wed 26th – Black IPA – tomorrow I’m in the brewery, brewing a Black IPA – Apocalypse. It has been 4 years (I think, pretty sure) since I first brewed this. I wasn’t totally happy with it at the time, but since then have drunk many Black IPA’s from around the world (mostly US brewed), and feel I have a better idea now of what I want to achieve. So lets see how this new recipe goes.

RepocalypseLast year I brewed a special one-off batch of a trial recipe for this at the Fork & Brewer which we called Repocalypse. It was only available for a very limited time in Wellington.

Radio NZ Interview – 10:45-12pm
I’m due to do a radio interview about the Great Kiwi Beer Festival, from the brewery which can be a bit noisy.


Wed 26th – Tap Takeover at Vultures Lane
Since we did the official launch on Friday, we thought we would kick it up a level for the first keg of Epic Mosaic we are putting on tap at Vultures. A list of the beers and if you want you can RSVP here too. After a beer or two we will have some chillis available to try, be cool if I can get some more #hotchillidance video.

Thurs 27th – Christchurch
Heading to Christchurch to visit a few craft beer bars that stock Epic beers. Still to decide which one would be good to do a review at lunchtime. Hoping Craig from BeerNZ can give some good advice on this, since it has been a while since I’ve been in CHCH. Pomeroy’s meeting about the Beer and Food matchings for the Epic Beer Dinner in June. Therefore most likely at Poms at the end of the day if you want to catch up for a beer.

Fri 28th – Hagley Park
Setup for the Great Kiwi Beer Festival. Making sure the beer has turned up and is in the chiller. Getting the banners and beer systems setup on our Epic/Stone stand. Maybe a beer later in the day. @StoneGreg may make an appearance at beer o’clock, but not promising anything. (sshhh keep an eye on the tweeters)

Sat 29th – Hagley Park
Fingers cross we are ready, have enough staff, enough beer and enough ice to serve a crowd of 14,000 beer festival patrons. Both myself and Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. will be on the stand most of the day. We will be making an appearance in the VIP area at some point in the day too. Beer on our stand is listed in this post. Definitely some great beers available. Stop by and say hi. Also a chance to try the Culley’s Carolina Reaper hot sauce with some Epic Carolina Amber Ale. #hotchillidance

Sun 30th – Home
Travel back to Auckland. Maybe having a beer with a certain person from San Diego.


Fresh HopsMon 31st – Fresh Hop Beer – Excited and nervous about brewing a Fresh Beer for the Beervana Mini Festival – #freshhopnz14 . Nervous because I haven’t brewed a fresh hop beer in this brewery, and still need to work through the details of how this is going to work logistically.

Fresh Hops take up 5 times the volume compared to dry hops. I hope the tank we plan on using can hold all the hops I ordered, and that the hops don’t suck up too much of the beer.

(It’s 10 years since I made my first fresh hopped beer.)


And this will bring me to the end of March. I am excited to let you know what April has in store.

P.S. Here is another video I have which shows the #hotchillidance Turn the sounds down as the language could be a bit rough for young viewers.

New Zealand Beer Festival – Auckland 2014 – Review

The New Zealand Beer Festival 2014 is different, it has been changed. Changed by the law. Changed by the interpretation of how to enforce that law. Changed by having to protect the people from harm.

Since it was only last night I am still thinking about how I feel about this event. I still need to talk to others, and collect information to decide whether these changes are good, bad or indifferent.

Just quickly here are my current thoughts. (there are no comments about the weather below, it wasn’t ideal)

165ml ONLY serve – people spent twice as long in lines, to get the beer they wanted to drink. Maybe they tried more different types of beers than they normally would. Maybe they drank the same amounts they normally would if they could get 330ml, and then spend less time in lines. Without doing a wrap up of exactly how much beer we sold (that’s Monday’s job), my gut feel is we sold the same amount as if we had done full pours.

People expressed frustration at spending so much time in line. Some deciding they would leave early and go to the pub (some saying they wouldn’t attend again).


Most of the second session we experienced 9+ people deep at our bar. I had staff commenting this is the first event they haven’t been able to take a break till near the end of the session. We were slammed. We weren’t able to converse with the public and educate them about our beer. The onslaught of people buying half serves was relentless.

If the half serves didn’t equate to less volume drunk. Then what it equated to was frustration and creating an unnatural environment. An environment where normal responsibly people weren’t standing back and relaxing and conversing about the beer they had purchased. They spent most of their time in lines, that could take 15 minutes to get served. How long does it take to drink 165ml of beer? Maybe 15 minutes? less? That meant as soon as you purchased a beer you really needed to get into the next line.

Some people though are happy with sampling 165ml beers, so they can try many different styles of beers. These people who have always done this now need to stand in line twice as long as the 330ml drinkers are in line twice as often.

Possible outcome of this is fewer people will come to the event next year. Why pay $40 to get into a beer festival where you can only by beer for 2/3 of the time of the event, you have to wait in line for 15+ minutes to get 165ml of beer.

165ml every 15 minutes x 4 hours = 2.640 litres is the most you could possibly drink. 660ml per hour, so around a pint. That is a fair amount, and 4 pints is a pretty good night. But that is a best case scenario for getting served. Most people did spend time with their mates.

Is there a better way of doing this. A way where people can actually enjoy themselves and not spend 4 hours standing in lines. If a goal from these changes are to make changes in the way the public drink, then shouldn’t there be some consideration to taking away the urgency of getting a beer.

4 hours of service ONLY – I’m OK with this as it seems to be about the right amount of time, before intoxication starts become visible in a crowd. I hate dealing with dickheads, who think they are pretty witty after a few beers.

The entertainment – yes the weather was poor, but if 8000 people turned up for the beer festival that was offering music that ended at 10pm how many stayed? It was pretty obvious that by 9pm there were only 1000 left watching the band, and the bars had closed at 8pm, the real reason people came to the New Zealand Beer Festival was for the BEER!!! D’uh!

Organisation – I have been involved with the New Zealand Beer Festival since the first year. David, Andrew and Gideon, have done an amazing job of making the event a success in the past. This is the first year where I could fault them on the smooth running of the event. It seems as though they had to put all their energy and resources into complying with condition from the licensing, council and police. They took their focus off the event.

The big question now needs to be asked of the Police. Was their more or less trouble from this event compared to last year? How many people were admitted to hospital with alcohol related injuries? and had they actually attended the Beer Festival? Was that more or less than last year? As this seems to be measure of an event these days. Is this event ever compared to an average Saturday night?

Was the additional cost of having 1 x security guard and 1 x bar manager (put in by the event organisers) worth it? Seemed extreme to have those two people monitoring the fill heights throughout the day. Maybe one would have been as cost-effective?

One thing that was unsettling and only talked about briefly was the videoing of the public entering the event. Videoing of staff serving. What will this video be used for. Will it be destroyed now that it isn’t required? I personally didn’t see this first hand, but it doesn’t make me ask the question – what is the footage for? Where was the notification letting the people know that they could and would be videoed? Is this something we just need to get use to so that everyone can be safe?

New Zealand Beer Festival 2014




Will there be a New Zealand Beer Festival in 2015?






See the Facebook Discussion here

Neil Miller does a little write up –

Geoff Griggs article –
Heavy-handed law interpretations take toll

P.S. Sorry for the above. After re-reading it I think I found my overall experience was less positive than I had had in the previous years. Love to get other people’s feedback.

GREG KOCH – Owns Wellington, NZ in #citytaptakeover

Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. visited Wellington on Thursday, in a style you would only ever expect from him.

2014-03-13 17.02.29

It was a #citytaptakeover . Too many beers for just one bar to carry. So the event was spread over two bars, on either side of the city – Malthouse and Fork & Brewer. 45 beers, 50 taps. The event started at 12:12pm and there was a steady stream of people from lunchtime through the afternoon.







Matt ParrotDog & Greg Koch

Greg turned up around 5pm at the Malthouse and we headed to the Fork & Brewer for some meet and greet time with the after work crowd. I have never seen the Fork as packed as it was when we arrived. For someone who’s beer isn’t available for sale or has never done a beer event in New Zealand, he was treated like a local hero. He walk through the crowd talking with beer fans, stopping to chat, shake hands and have his photo taken.









Jos Garage Project

After a couple of hours we departed for some dinner. We went across the road to WBC and had a really nice dinner, where we said just bring us a selection from the menu so we can try. Jos from Garage Project (and his mum) joined us, as we bumped into them on the way out of the Fork & Brewer.









2014-03-13 22.34.15

Then to the Malthouse. The place was jam-packed. I gave some attention to the playlist and the place was rocking. After a while Greg mounted the bar and gave a preach (see video above). It was a roaring success, the speech and the rest of the night.








Here are a few of the stunners from the line up. I did spend the afternoon having a wee taste of each of the beers, but there were several favourites for me.

Overall I’d say everyone was very happy with this event. #citytaptakeover










the Tiger Cub

Old Guardian Oak Smoked

Stochasticity Project Grapefruit Slam IPA


The Malthouse Blog post by Neil Miller
Stone Brewing Co. III: The time for Ruination is upon us – #citytaptakeover


P.S. I was given some feedback about the Great Kiwi Beer Festival on the 29th March in Christchurch. Since the announcement of Greg Koch and Stone Brewing Co. beers being at the event they have seen a surge in ticket sales.


ON MY MIND – Beer things I should write about

There are things I am currently thinking about but haven’t had the time to put my ideas down in words, and think through what it means, and what I think about it. So rather than them getting lost here is a bit of a brain dump…

New Zealand Beer FestivalNew Zealand Beer Festival – maximum serve 165ml, bar closes 2 hours before session ends 10am-3pm & 4pm-10pm. Beer Festival where you can’t buy beer? no beer over 9% but you can buy wine (which is likely to be 12-14%)? (Discussion here)

Great Kiwi Beer Festival – 11.30am -7pm (7.5 hours to sample beers vs 4 hours in Auckland) How come there are different interpretations of the law, or what local councils and police see as appropriate in different parts of the country. Are people in Christchurch more responsible and cause less harm vs Aucklanders?

Beer Festivals – over the years I have found that 4 hours is actually about the right amount of time for people to sample a fair range of beers, before you start seeing effects of intoxication. The recent blanc Beer Fest, seemed to naturally start slowing down at around 5pm, after starting at 1pm and went to 7pm. It might have had something to do with the time of day, and people having plans for later on in the evening.

New World Beer Awards vs Brewers Guild Beer Awards – a previous sponsor now to run their own beer awards, at a similar time of year. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the developments with these two competitions. Wonder how Super Liquor will feel about this?

Kegs – how to manage your kegs, so you get them back, so you can put your beer in them so you can sell more beer.

Craft Beer Pricing – new craft breweries entering the craft beer space, under cutting the market on price. Does cheaper pricing equal larger volume sold? Or does it just erode everyone’s margins. Does craft beer price discounting work for anyone? Will it be a race to the bottom?

Just some thoughts for now….