Question: How much ethanol can you get from yeast slurry?

brewtroleumYou may have seen DB in the news recently “saving the world” with Brewtroleum

Can someone explain to me, as I’d love to know, how you get 30,000 litres of ethanol from 58,000 litres of yeast slurry?

The way I understand it, there would be beer left in this slurry, lets be generous and say 50% is beer. Lets assume it is high gravity beer, pre dilution, so maybe 8% abv.

50% of 58,000 litres x 8%abv = 2,320 litres of 100% ethanol.
100% of 58,000 litres x 8%abv = 4,640 litres ethanol.

How do you get 30,000 litres of ethanol?

Maybe I’m wrong, and have misinterpreted the information they have presented, or totally misunderstand the process. I’d love to think this isn’t another marketing stunt.

If they can extract this much ethanol, how cost effective is it? and will this be an ongoing process to save the world?

The media haven’t presented more than the original press release, with a celebrity (haha, Green MP), and line of cars waiting to get this gas. Were all the cars driven by DB employees?

Beer Writer of the Year 2015 – Martin Craig

Martin Craig2You should check out the new blog by beer writer Martin Craig. He only kicked this off about three weeks ago, but if he keeps writing like this he definitely deserves to be the New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year 2015. His writing is informative, thoughtful and in-depth, and he is prolific. Sign up to receive emails.

It’s posts like Brewing hub plans for Upper Hutt that give you the scoop on what’s happening at a local level. Information like this you just wouldn’t know about, but thanks to Martin for writing about it.


About and Martin Craig (from his blog)
Beertown NZ is an enthusiastic, subjective, opinionated and independent celebration of New Zealand beer and brewing.

It’s managed by me, Martin Craig, a freelance business journalist and marketeer based in Wellington, New Zealand.

I wrote my first craft beer article in 1993, profiling Anchor Brewing in Porirua, NZ. Since then I’ve written for the Listener, North & South, Consumer, ProDesign, NZRetail, Fish & Game, Beer & Brewer, Pursuit of Hoppiness and others. I have also editedPursuit of Hoppiness and business magazines.

My personal beer career has involved indifferent home brewing and 20 years living within a short walk of the excellent Regional Wines in Wellington. I have judged for Consumer, SOBA, the West Coast IPA Challenge and other events.

All up, Beertown NZ is about good beer and good writing. Enjoy!

Contact me through Twitter @BeerTownNZ



Fresh green hops rushed into action


Hop grower Brent McGlashen of Mac Hops, left and Tuatara head brewer Rik Valentine load some of the 40 sacks, 800kg of freshly harvested green hops from Mac Hops in Motueka, ready to be flown to Paraparaumu and brewed immediately. Photo: Marion van Dijk

Time is of the essence when it comes to green hops, which is why Tuatara Brewery sent its head brewer to Nelson in a plane to collect 800 kilograms of the freshly picked cones.

Head brewer Rik Valentine made the journey from Paraparaumu to pick up the load of Nelson sauvin hops, harvested at 7.30am at Mac Hops in Motueka and loaded into the plane at 9.30am, especially for the brewery’s signature green-hopped Conehead beer. (full story)

Beer Search Terms

It was a year ago today that I started the current version of this blog. Here are some of the interesting search terms from 2014, that people entered and arrived at

(In no particular order, just because they are fun).

Happy Beer Drinkers - Auckland Beer FestivalSearch Terms:

“nz who drinks the most beer”

“what do beer drinkers want in a premium beer”

“reasons why do people buy beer”

“logical reason to buy beer”

“does db breweries still exist in nz”

“where to get alcohol in auckland after midnight”

“the beer that cost 2million what that the name?”

“what reason boys drink chilled beer”

“do you pay for drinks at beer fest”

These could all make very interesting topics to write about, especially the DB one.

It would be interesting to see what answers people would come up with if these were presented as interview questions.

100 Posts & Looking Back, Wayback

Luke Nicholas - Brewer 1999When I started this blog on the 1st January I didn’t have much of a plan other than to share my journey through the world of beer. It has been pretty cool to be able to record and share my adventures, as well as my opinions on what I am thinking about and what is topical.

I have also been playing around recently with a new version of The effort is patchy and not sure of when there will be anything to show publicly. The one thing about this side project is that I have come across a lot of old posts, and has made me look back and reflect on my first websites.

I created a website called “The New Zealand Brewers Network” back in 1996 after returning from living in California. It was a cute little website, and I am raking my brain on where I might have a backup of it, so I might up load it again. (a version from 1998)

I’m also considering uploading copies of the print version of Sparging and newsletter I use to produce for the brewing industry in the late 1990’s. It became a digital version around in 1999 – here is a link to the archives of Sparging Online

It’s amazing to think that this first website I created for craft brewers in New Zealand was 18 years ago. Maybe I will find it in time for its 20th anniversary.


(Here is an example of a copy of the print version of Sparging January 1999 )

UPDATE: haha this is cute too My goal for Sparging is ……. “to raise the actual and perceived quality of beer in New Zealand” 

Craft Beer Auckland

Auckland Sky TowerSome weeks get really busy and I have trouble keeping up with everything beyond my little world of beer.

The following are tabs I have open in my browser (which need to be closed) so I am storing them here, to refer to and maybe comment on later.


Epic Hot Zombie & Hop Zombie Launch 5pm-7pm Brew on Quay

Yeastie Boys Spoonbenders Launch  – Galbraith’s Alehouse

8 Wired Flat White Launch – Vultures Lane

This seems to be more common now. two or three venues having cool craft beer events on a Friday in Auckland. #CraftBeerAuckland

New Beervana Trade Show

Westpac Stadium from 2pm to 4pm, on Thursday 21 August…. the afternoon before Beervana opens to the public, is for the brewing industry, retailers, restaurants, bars, caterers, media and others wanting to develop their business with the brewing industry, with the aim of increasing trade for New Zealand brewers both here and in Australia.


These are dark days, indeed

“I don’t like dark beers”.

Starting this Friday The Malthouse will host its annual two-day Darkest Days event.

A celebration of dark beers, some of the highlights include Epic’s biennial  stout, this year named Imperium, the always-amazing Three Boys Oyster Stout and another San Diego offering – Stone 2013 Espresso Russian Imperial Stout.

No, you won’t like them all but if you’re a dark beer virgin this is the place to start.


Help shape Auckland’s alcohol policy

Submissions open Monday 16 June and close at 4pm, Wednesday 16 July 2014.


Craft beer is a culture, not a craze

But for all of the excitement our love affair with craft beer is still in its awkward adolescent stage, with much fumbling at clasps, enthusiastic – and sometimes clumsy – experimentation and occasional disappointment and regret. In our teenage years of beer discovery, we often find ourselves drawn to the enigmatic bad boys who will break our heart, or the hottie whose short skirt distracts us from her inability to carry a conversation, or at least their beer world equivalents.


Brewing up a storm at new beer festival

Eckhard says the event aims to showcase home brewing and 10 home brewers from the Nelson Tasman region will have their beer at the celebration – (wow, slow news day Nelson?)


JED.IPA Beer Launch

Sweet name for a beer.


Gorgeous Gale’s lost for want of a gyle

In the last few years Speight’s eight remaining kauri gyles have once again fallen into disuse, but Lion continue to maintain them and has expressed a desire to keep them in working condition on the off-chance they may be once again brought out of retirement – perhaps for special one-off or limited release brews.


Society of Beer Advocates City of Ales Festival 12 July

When: Saturday 12 July 2013; Two sessions 1) 12pm- 3pm 2) 4pm-7pm
Where: The Floating Pavillion, Gate 1, Hobson West Marina, 220 Quay St, Auckland
How much: $35 per person
What: 2 complimentary sample glasses of beer and a plate of food, with the option to purchase more beer


New Beer Events and New Epic Beers

Its been a while since I have talked about what’s coming up and there seems to be a few things worth checking out. Pencil these dates in.

Darkest Days 201413 June – Epic Imperium launch – The Lumsden

20 June – Hop Zombie & Hot Zombie release – Brew on Quay, Auckland
20 June – Darkest Days – Malthouse (including Epic Imperium on hand pump), Wellington

23 June – Epic Hop Zombie 2014 & Hot Zombie official release to market (and probably bottled Apocalypse Black IPA)

24 June – Epic Beer Dinner – Pomeroy’s, Christchurch

28 June – Winter BREWS Out West – blanc, Henderson, Auckland

4 July – Independence Day, Brew on Quay, Auckland

12 July – City of Ales – SOBA Auckland

18 July – West Coast IPA Challenge – Malthouse (Epic brewed a new Imperial IPA for this), Wellington

31 July – 3 August – The Food Show, Auckland

22-23 August – Beervana – Wellington

blanc winter brews out west

city of ales 14


How Many Craft Beer Drinkers in New Zealand?

I have collected a few stats over the last month, and thought maybe I could try to extrapolate how many craft beer drinkers in New Zealand there are.

Population of New Zealand – 4.5 million

under 15 years old – 900,000

% who drink alcohol (15+yo) – 80%

= 2,880,000 people drink alcohol

10% of drinkers drink half the alcohol/beer – 288,000 people

Happy Beer Drinkers - Auckland Beer Festival

Total beer production 290 million litres (sorry I haven’t found the latest figures, but that is pretty close)

This would mean 2,592,000 people would drink 145,000,000 litres of beer. (assumption, no craft beer drinkers are binge drinkers)

Now the difficult part is trying to work out how much of the beer market is craft, and how you define craft beer. If you include Mac’s and Monteith’s then it could be as high as 10% or based on the Brewers Guild of New Zealand estimate it may be as low as 2%.

I will use a figure of 5% which is kind of middle and discounts the some of the Mac’s and Monteith’s volume being their kind of mainstream lager with a craft badge.


7,250,000 million litres of craft beer in New Zealand (produced by 70 craft breweries)

129,600 craft beer drinkers in New Zealand

Epic Pre-Released Black IPA

A few weeks ago Epic Beer HQ finally got its off premise license so that we can sell beer direct. (only took 7 months, but that is another story)

2014-05-07 13.41.47This week we did a first, we pre-released the new KEG ONLY Black IPA “Apocalypse” to a small group of people on our database. We got a couple of kegs that had been freshly filled at the brewery, and filled some plastic PET bottles. The link we sent out was only live for 24 hours, but we sold out all the beer. (So much so if we want some at HQ we are going to need to get another keg)

It wasn’t glamorous but it meant people could taste the new Black IPA super fresh and a week before we are officially launching it.


Missed out? Come to the release at Vultures Lane.



2014-05-07 13.42.09


Missed out on the offer? You need to get on the special offer list.










2014-05-07 13.41.28













Is The Price Of Beer Right?

To: The New Zealand Herald

Dear Editor

I wasn’t going to respond to Don Kavanagh’s article “Cheers: Don’t price out beer” but thought it needed a response since you deemed it was important enough to be printed in the nations largest newspaper.

Aaahhhh, a beer
Aaahhhh, a beer

Coming from your “expert” writer on the subject, the article comes across as naive, uninformed and un-researched. It is more of a light weight, personal complaint about having to pay for quality crafted beer in the pub. Not exactly a fun read.

“Frankly I think the price of a beer is shocking ..” 

“Shocking” doesn’t that imply some kind of surprise? The price of beer (and alcohol) has been on a gradual rise forever. I don’t recall in the recent past when the price of a pint made any radical jump. So where is the shock?

The article complains about the price of beer. Makes random comparisons by country, but makes no reference to the different excise rates of each country that he is comparing the pricing to. Higher excise will equal higher price.

If the author thinks the price of beer here is high, he is going to get a huge shock if he ever makes it to Australia where the prices are way higher. That is because the excise tax on alcohol is a lot high than in New Zealand.

The article doesn’t consider the costs associated with running a bar compared to a supermarket. Bars have staff to serve you a selection of beverages, in an environment which is clean, dry, warm and comfortable. The staff take away your empty glasses, and clean them, as well as clean the bar at the end of the evening when you walk out and go home.

“After all, the price of a single “craft” beer (whether from a craft brewery or a major one) will set you back more than a perfectly adequate bottle of wine from the supermarket.”

Most craft beer drinkers I know drink beer for the taste of it. Higher price does equal less quantity drunk, but drinking for the taste can be as pleasurable, if not more, then just drinking to get drunk on the cheapest beer available.

Price is generally more due to the cost of making it being higher for a small producer.

It would seem the author would rather sit home with a bottle of supermarket wine, than explore the exciting range of craft beers made by the small craft breweries in this country. These small businesses are battling against the odds to make a living. Each have an exciting unique story to tell. Stories that your readers may actually be excited to read about. More excited than hearing that they pay too much for a beer here in New Zealand vs an airport bar in Frankfurt. (even though the beers are taxed at different rates and it is going to cost them $2000 to get to Frankfurt to drink that beer that is a few dollars cheaper, but not as tasty.)

“It’s either the retailer or the manufacturer who has to do something…”

I’m not sure if your author saw Stu McKinlay’s great article on the break down of the cost of beer, but incase he didn’t here is a link. What’s in my beer? Hopefully this gives him a better understanding of the breakdown of the costs of a pint, and will give him an appreciation of how much a craft brewer is actually making from a pint. Brewers make beer not money.

Overall the article seemed out of touch with where the market is at. Craft beer is booming, there are new breweries opening every month in this country. That says to me that the demand for these “seriously expensive” beers, continues to grow, as does the number of bars stocking them. This is a time where the pub has a new lease of life. A time where people are returning to the pub. They are paying more for a good beer. And you know what, they are sitting in the pub and they are talking about the beer they are drinking.


Luke Nicholas

P.S. could you please ask Don to write cool articles about craft beer, as I find them more interesting. I want the people of Auckland to be able to read great articles like the rest of the country gets to read about craft beer.

P.P.S Here is an article about why craft beer cost more Selling Craft Beers: 5 Tips for Countering Customers’ Price Ale-ments

UPDATE 2/5/14 – Follow up article – Price row a matter of perception by Geoff Griggs

Kavanagh’s column ends with the warning that “if the pub culture dies, we’ll all be the poorer”.

But in a blog rebuffing those fears, Auckland-based Epic Brewing Company owner Luke Nicholas is far more upbeat: “Craft beer is booming, there are new breweries opening every month in this country. That says to me that the demand for these ‘seriously expensive’ beers continues to grow, as does the number of bars stocking them.”

In his rebuttal entitled “Is the price of beer right?” Nicholas argues “this is a time where the pub has a new lease of life”.

“A time where people are returning to the pub. They are paying more for a good beer. And you know what, they are sitting in the pub and they are talking about the beer they are drinking.”

I’ll raise a glass to that.