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)

New Hawke’s Bay brewery to start producing 100,000 litres of beer a year

Dermot Haworth, with part of the new Abbey Brewery set up.


Dermot Haworth, with part of the new Abbey Brewery set up.


Brewing beer was only supposed to be a winter hobby for Hawke’s Bay man Dermot Haworth – to keep him busy during the region’s colder months.

But five years later his hobby has grown into one of the region’s largest craft breweries with the potential to produce a million litres of beer a year.

Haworth and his family own Abbey Estate Winery in Bridge Pa, which produces their Fat Monk beer.

Alongside the fermenting vats wine, Abbey Brewery has been pieced together over the past few months and will open to the public this weekend. (full story)



New Zealand hop growers investing $20m in the expanding industry


Kiwi hop growers are expected to invest $20m into an expanding industry in the next three years, as it responds to surging global demand for craft beer ingredients.

The growth of craft beer has transformed the niche industry, which has 19 New Zealand growers.

Last year, trade reportedly delivered around $20m a year in turnover and $14m a year in export returns.

The grower-owned cooperative harvested about 750 tonnes from 389 hectares in 2015.

About 85 per cent of the hops, which are largely grown in the Motueka and Riwaka areas west of Nelson, are exported. (full story)

Malthouse’s West Coast IPA Challenge outgrows venue

2013-07-12 18.49.08One of the biggest events on the Wellington craft beer calendar, Malthouse’s West Coast IPA Challenge, is expanding due to a positive case of growing pains.

Colin Mallon, Malthouse Operations Guy and WCIPAC organiser, says this year’s 9th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge (WCIPAC) will expand its festivities to Malthouse’s sister bar, Fork & Brewer on Bond Street, due to increasingly large crowds turning up to see who will win Best West Coast IPA and take home the Golden Gumboots.

The annual event, taking place on Friday, 29 July, sees brewers showcase their skills with hops by brewing West Coast IPAs, a notoriously popular and hoppy style of beer, dear to the hearts of craft beer drinkers.

“I think it’s become such a big event on the calendar because of people’s ongoing and increasingly growing love affair with different beers,“ says Colin.

“The event has raised awareness of the beer style, and the fun and anticipation leading up to, and on, the night definitely brings people in who necessarily wouldn’t class themselves as beer drinkers. You get hardcore beer drinkers bringing their friends, and before you know it, it widens the appeal.

“The last WCIPAC had Malthouse groaning at its seams. The event officially kicks off at 2pm, the bar will be wall-to-wall packed by 4:30pm, with queues out the door by 5pm, and the bar often remaining near capacity until 2am.

“We sell something in the region of about 40 kegs. It is a huge night for us!

“We were turning people away at the last few WCIPACs, so it made sense to release some of that pressure this year by making Fork & Brewer a co-host.”

Colin says Fork & Brewer was the natural venue choice to expand the event, not only as it is Malthouse’s sister bar, but because it is the only place that had enough taps to accommodate the 25 beers that will be showcased on the evening.

Punters at Fork & Brewer need not fear for missing out on any of the beers, celebrations or announcements – all WCIPAC beers will be pouring on tap and announcements made at the same time as at Malthouse.

It speaks for the notoriety of the event, that the competition is making its first foray to Australia with a line-up of WCIPAC beers being flown over the Tasman to feature in WCIPAC tap takeovers at The Local Taphouses in Melbourne and Sydney.

2013-07-12 21.02.15Originally created because July was Malthouse’s quietest month of the year, WCIPAC started out with two entrants [Epic Brewing Co. and Hallertau Brewery] in a bit of a “my beer is hoppier than your beer” showdown.

“Back then the Wellington craft beer landscape was quite different – there was Malthouse, Bar Bodega and Bar Edward, so showcasing a specific style was quite unusual,” says Colin.

“Now the event showcases 25 beers, has 9-10 judges, some of whom are World Beer Cup judges, and breweries contacting us to submit entries.”

“It’s great when you see a brewery that hasn’t performed very well, and then come back and next year and they raise their game – even if they don’t win it’s really great to see.”

“The last thing I wanted this to be was something that was taken too seriously. We want to give brewers a bit of feedback on their entries, but at the end of the day, it is all about celebrating good beer with good people.”

Five of the best Auckland craft beer venues

The staggering growth of craft beer in New Zealand means it’s almost impossible to keep track of every new brewer and the bars serving their products.

Demand from discerning drinkers means more places than ever are popping up where you can indulge in an IPA or polish off a few pilsners.

And while the boom in boutique brewing has traditionally been driven by Wellington, which stakes its claim as the ‘craft beer capital’, or Nelson the ‘brewing capital’, Auckland is growing quickly with a rising reputation for quality beer.

So whether you’re a beer beginner or a craft connoisseur looking for somewhere different, here are our picks of Auckland’s best established and up-and-coming venues.

(Full Article)

[WARNING] Craft Beer in Crisis?

richard_emersonWhy don’t I hear more concern from craft beer drinkers about the recent purchase of Panhead by Lion? Are the warning signs from the US craft beer industry or even from history not being listened to?


This comment from Sam Calagione hopefully sums up what is happening

Dogfish Head founder crafts brewery’s future

Q: What does growing consolidation mean for the craft beer movement?
A: Everyone needs to realize that right now in every bar in every state there are massive global breweries going in and trying to sell those bars kegs of beer that they are hoisting off as local craft beers from somewhere in America that are really being made and distributed and marketed by the world’s biggest breweries. If the consumer doesn’t vote with their pocketbook to prioritize indie craft, we risk losing the vibrancy and diversity of our industry because the little guys can’t compete at the price points that the big brewers are hoisting this so-called craft beer off on.

[Read Full Article]

Please consider history as well

Craft Brewing Takes Flight in N.Z. (part II)

In 1923, the first New Zealand brewing giant, under the name of New Zealand Breweries (since renamed Lion), was born through the merger of ten major regional breweries (including all of their licensed hotels and tied independents) located in the major metropolitan areas of the country. Although exact figures are unavailable, it is probably safe to say this new company controlled well over half of the country’s beer production and distribution. In subsequent years Lion continued to grow, not through capital investment in new plants, but by buying additional regionals, closing some and bringing others into the corporate fold.

[Read Full Article]

richard_emerson (1)Is the follow article part of making things OK? Are Kirin/Lion/Emerson’s really just good guys after all? If so maybe some of the bars they have tied might be good enough to free up a tap to two so that the small independent brewers might be able to sell a little more beer? Seems a bit pointless helping small independent breweries to make beer when on the other hand they are blocked from the majority of the market through tied agreements.


‘Big boy’ steps in to save brewers’ bacon

But Emerson’s Brewery in Dunedin came to the rescue and last month secured an organic malt supply for the micro-brewery.

At the brewery’s 5000L brew house the inevitable spillage was about 5tons a year. (pretty sure this isn’t true, and if it is it won’t be long before Kirin come and sort it out)

[Read Full Article]