Future award winning breweries are bubbling away in basements across the country. Every time I go to the boozer I find a brew from a previously unheard of outfit. Some of them are contract brewing and others are investing in steel.
Anyone watching the scene has seen small players come through, building from plastic buckets to large craft breweries. The last wave saw some of the Wellington guys come from nothing to darlings of the industry in a couple of years. The guys from Parrot Dog moved from plastic buckets to a new shiny brewery almost overnight. Garage Project moved from brewing in 50L kegs once a week to a gleaming new brewery over the course of a year.
Slightly further up the country LIberty Brewing was moving from glass carboys in the bathroom to award winning beers, and recently a much larger brewery with Hallertau.
So who are the next round? Who is storming out of the garage and onto the taps at Beervanna 2013? To answer the question here are 5 breweries you may not have heard of, unless like me you spend way too much time reading about beer.
1. Brothers Beer
I’m sure everyone in the know has heard of Brother Beer, the new Pub come bottle shop in Auckland Central. A couple of months ago they also installed a 4800L brewery. Up till this point they've brewed their range in Australia and dragged it back over the ditch. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve tried so I’m looking forward to their local brew which they’re releasing any day soon. Half of brothers, Andrew Larsen is also the owner of Kaimai Brewing and an international brewery consultant so I imagine whatever they brew won’t be too shabby.
2. Queenstown Brewery
I reviewed this brewery startup last month. John Wallace is a professional winemaker and award winning homebrewer. His Steam Brew is a nice drop which hasn’t found it’s way around the island yet. I don’t have much info about their operation but I seem to remember reading somewhere that they're contracting brewing.
3. Governors Beer
Auckland’s latest brewery quietly set up in Grey Lynn while no one was watching and what a setup it is. Master brewer, Andrew Peacocke has teamed up and built what is probably the flashest looking brewery in Auckland Centralish. Their first release is a super traditional German Lager made to a very traditional brewing process. Their aim is to be the new preference for Stella/Heineken drinkers. It’s popping up around town and I’ve seen it in bottles and on tap at Brothers.
4. Schippers Beer
Neils Schipper won a homebrew contest organsied by Moa, the prize was a batch of beer commercially brewed. SInce then he’s taken things into his own hands with bottles of Schippers Scallywag turning up in several of my favourite beer spots around town.
5. Two Fingers
Rotorua has it’s second craft label, leaving neighbours Tauranga and Taupo even more visibly barren of craft breweries to experience when wandering around the Island. Lawrence Oldershaw launched his brand at the end of 2012 after several years of vigorous home brewing. His beers won bronze awards at the Society of Beer Advocates National Homebrew Competition in 2012, moving him to launch a brand.
Contract brewing out of Mata in Kawerau, Two Fingers are focused on producing traditional styles from Europe. Their first beer was a German Alt Bier, a style not seen much in NZ. Mostly focused on pubs in Rotorua, Hamilton and Wellington, they are looking for private investment to expand into other areas.
Bonus Brewery : St. Katherine’s Brewing Co. in New Zealand
So new I have no info on this one apart from seeing a bottle in the shelves at Brothers. Anyone know anything about this?