[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.

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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.

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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)

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TASTING TUESDAY 140610 – Brew On Quay

Its been a while, after much international travel and much beer judging, now its time to bring back Tasting Tuesday. Tasting Tuesday has probably been the posts that I have had the most positive feedback from. So it would be silly not to do a few more.

Brew on QuayI was asked by David Cryer of Beervana when I was doing my next one, I said how about tomorrow, there is no reason I shouldn’t do one. I just need to get on and do it. Next on the list had to be Brew on Quay. This is one of our best tap accounts for Epic Pale Ale.

The one issue many beer geeks have with Brew on Quay is that it is 80% tap tied to Lion which has historically meant that the range of beers had been boring due to them having to come from the Lion portfolio. Things have improved since Emerson’s joined the family though. But wait [BREAKING NEWS] come the 4th July Brew on Quay will be independent, a freehouse. They will be free to put what ever beers they like on tap. WooHoo! Finally a win for #CraftBeer in Auckland. (FYI we lost a few more taps last week with the closing of No 1 High St. Come on publicans we must be able to turn this tide).

Gallery of photos and tasting notes:

Moa 5 Hop Winter Ale from hand pump was also sampled. (I forgot to take a photo of the tap badge). Presented with a nice head, the beer was clean and balance, the malt had hints of chocolate/cocoa, but I found the hops were muddled, and lacked definition, or any peaks that stood out. Maybe got some Fuggles in there?


We got lucky with the food, as it a new menu. Check it out. I’d have to say they have come a long way since my post on getting carrots in my Nachos (need to find the photo, and then I will repost). We only sampled from the tapas menu, so haven’t tried any of the main dishes. Something to look forward to.

Photos of menu and food:

I’m excited to head back for the 4th July to celebration Brew on Quay’s Independence Day. (actually I am excited to be heading back on Friday 20th June for the 2014 Hop Zombie and Hot Zombie launch)

On a side note, if you are looking for a unique property investment the building that houses Brew on Quay if for sale. Here is some background history on the building.

The single-story brick structure was designed by architect Charles Arnold on reclaimed land, and was completed in 1904 as the New Zealand headquarters for the Australian company Colonial Sugar Refining, now known as Chelsea Sugar, which processed sugar from Fiji and other colonies.


The New Zealand Police took over the lease of the building in 1961, and it was the Wharf Police Station up until 1993.