Seeking to emulate the explosive growth of the craft beer boom in our own fair isle and across the pond in the USA, the New Zealand government has recently announced a $13.5 million dollar investment in the industry. Called Brewing Success, it will be run in collaboration with Hāpi Research Ltd. The seven- year Primary Growth Partnership (or PGP) programme aims to diversify the hops production of the Australasian country.
Hāpi Research is a joint venture from leading NZ brewer Garage Project and hop farmer Freedom Farms. They will contribute roughly half the capital for the project, with the rest coming from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries. New Zealand has long been known as an iconic wine producer around the world. Known for such wines as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Otago Pinot Noir, the country produced 285 million litres of plonk in 2017.
It seems the government is now trying to further this success in the craft beer market.
New Zealand Flavours
“Through the programme, we want to understand the unique chemical compounds of our hops that produce New Zealand flavours, and how to best accentuate them in finished beer,” said Garage Project executive Tom Greally. Originally started in a dilapidated garage in 2011, Garage Project has been one of the island nation’s biggest success stories of recent years. They once brewed 24 different beers in 24 weeks and have created over 300 beers since their inception less than a decade ago.
This is indicative of the already thriving craft beer scene in New Zealand, with over 300 brewers now in operation across the country. However, the vast majority of their beers are based around imported hops – something the government is aiming to change with this project. The Brewing Success initiative will “help growers and brewers to explore new possibilities for our hop growing and craft beer industries.” The government also expects it to boost hops and craft beer sales by a total of nearly $300 million.
The State of the Nation
Some popular craft beers in New Zealand today include Invercargill, Wanaka and Founders’ – which comes the city of Nelson, officially one of the biggest craft beer producing towns in the world. The two largest local beer brewers are Monteith (owned by Heineken) and Speight’s, which is now owned by Japanese conglomerate Kirin.
However, some might see this as promoting drinking in a country that has somewhat of an issue with problem consumption. One in eight New Zealander’s admit to binge drinking at least once a week and a third of all police incidents in the country involve alcohol. Of course, here at BrilliantPubs we understand the need to be careful when drinking – but that shouldn’t stop sensible locals being able to enjoy a locally brewed craft beer made from locally sourced hops. Hopefully this programme will strengthen the NZ craft brewing and hops growing scene, allowing a true appreciation for beer to flourish. Cheers to that!