Beer in New Zealand

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Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in New Zealand, accounting for 63% of available alcohol for sale.[1] New Zealand is ranked 21st in beer consumption per capita, at around 75.5 litres per person per annum. The vast majority of beer produced in New Zealand is a type of lager, either pale or amber in colour, and between 4% – 5% alcohol by volume. There are also around 50 smaller breweries and brewpubs producing a vast range of beer styles, including some ales.[2][3] The two largest breweries in New Zealand, Lion Nathan and DB Breweries, control almost 90% of sales by volume between them.[4]

History[edit]

There is no oral tradition or archaeological evidence of the indigenous people of New Zealand (Māori) brewing beer before the arrival of Europeans. Major ingredients of beer were not introduced to New Zealand until Europeans arrived in the late-18th century. Captain James Cook brewed a beer flavoured with local spruce tree needles while visiting New Zealand in 1773 in order to combat scurvy aboard ship.[5] The first beer brewed in New Zealand was by Captain Cook while anchored in Ship Cove in the outer reaches of Queen Charlotte Sound in January 1770. Here he experimented with the use of young Rimu branches as a treatment against scurvy. It was brewed on Saturday 27 March 1773 on Resolution Island, in Dusky Sound, Fiordland. The beer was brewed using wort with addition of molasses and rimu bark and leaves.

«We also began to brew beer from the branches or leaves of a tree, which much resembles the American black-spruce. From the knowledge I had of this tree, and the similarity it bore to the spruce, I judged that, with the addition of inspissated juice of wort and molasses, it would make a very wholesome beer, and supply the want of vegetables, which this place did not afford; and the event proved that I was not mistaken.»

James Cook, A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1.

The first commercial brewery in New Zealand was established in 1835 by Joel Samuel Polack in Kororareka (now Russell) in the Bay of Islands. During the 19th century, New Zealand inherited the brewing traditions and styles of the United Kingdom and Ireland, being where the majority of European immigrants originated from during that time – thus the dominant beer styles would have been ales, porters & stouts.

20th century[edit]

During the late 19th and early 20th century, similar to the UK and the USA, the Temperance movement became a powerful and popular lobby group. In 1919 at a national referendum poll, prohibition gained 49% of the vote and was only defeated when the votes of returned servicemen were counted.[6] However, one aspect of wartime regulation was made permanent: a 6 pm closing time for licensed premises. This created the culture of the Six o'clock swill, a law that was not repealed until 1967, and was to have an influence on the styles of beer brewed and drunk in New Zealand.

In the 1930s, the New Zealander Morton W. Coutts invented the continuous fermentation process. Gradually, beer production in New Zealand shifted from ales to lagers, using continuous fermentation. The style of beer made by this method has become known as New Zealand Draught, and became the most popular beer during the period of 6 pm closing (see below).

During the same period, there was a gradual consolidation of breweries, such that by the 1970s virtually all brewing concerns in New Zealand were owned by either Lion Breweries or Dominion Breweries. From the 1980s small boutique or microbreweries started to emerge, and consequently the range of beer styles being brewed increased. The earliest was Mac's Brewery, started in 1981 in Nelson. Some pubs operated their own small breweries, often housed within the pub itself.

21st century[edit]

In recent years, pale and amber lager, the largest alcoholic drinks sector in terms of volume sales, have been on a downward trend as a result of a declining demand for standard and economy products.[7]

Conversely, ale production in New Zealand is primarily undertaken by small independent breweries & brewpubs, the Shakespeare Brewery in Auckland city being the first opened in 1986 for the 'craft' or 'premium' sector of the beer market. In 2010, this 'craft/premium' sector grew by 11%, to around 8% of the total beer market.[1] This has been in a declining beer market, where availability of beer has dropped 7% by volume in the two previous years.

Craft beer and microbreweries were blamed for a 15 million litre drop in alcohol sales overall in 2012, with Kiwis opting for higher-priced premium beers over cheaper brands.[8]

The craft beer market in New Zealand is varied and progressive, with a full range of ale & lager styles of beer being brewed. New Zealand is fortunate in that it lies in the ideal latitude for barley and hops cultivation. A breeding programme had developed new hop varieties unique to New Zealand,[9] many of these new hops have become mainstays in New Zealand craft beer.

Given the small market and relative high number of breweries, many breweries have spare capacity. A recent trend has seen the rise of contract brewing, where a brewing company contracts to use space in existing breweries to bring the beer to the market. Examples of contract brewers include Green Man Brewery, Epic Brewing Company, Croucher Brewing, and Yeastie Boys.[10]

Hop shortage[edit]

Over 2011 and 2012, New Zealand faced a shortage of hops, which affected several brewers countrywide.[11] The shortage was primarily caused by a hop shortage in North America. Brewers Guild president Ralph Bungard noted that Americans were scrambling to get their hands on Kiwi hops as they were becoming more trendy in the American micro-brew market.[12] One specialty brewery, Tuatara Brewery had just commenced production of an American Pale Ale—when the American hop shortage arose, they then created an Aotearoa Pale Ale, with New Zealand hops.[13]

Styles[edit]

The most widely recognised style of beer to have originated in New Zealand is NZ Draught. This is generally a malty, lightly hopped amber lager between 4% – 5% abv. Martyn Cornell, the British beer writer, has suggested that New Zealand Draught is partly an evolution of the late 19th century Mild Ale, which was popular with the British working classes, many of whom emigrated to New Zealand.[14] However, the beer is usually brewed using the continuous fermentation process and a lager yeast. During the period of the six o'clock swill, the beer was dispensed from kegs directly into customer's beer jugs using a hose and tap.[15]

Some of the original ale lineage lingers on in the branding of some NZ Draught beer. For example, the New Zealand Consumers' Institute recently criticised Tui for claiming to be an "East India Pale Ale" when it is in fact an amber lager that bears little resemblance to the traditionally hoppy, bitter or malty India Pale Ale style.[16]

Breweries[edit]

Large breweries[edit]

The tower of the Canterbury Brewery before demolition

In addition, some international brands are brewed under licence in New Zealand. Some examples are Heineken, Amstel, and Tiger [18] (DB Breweries); Kingfisher, Carlsberg, Holsten, and Tuborg[19][20] (Boundary Road); and Kilkenny,[21] Corona, Budweiser, Guinness, Stella Artois, and Beck's[22] (Lion Nathan).

Microbreweries, nanobreweries & contract brewers[edit]

– Source: [23]

Brewpubs[edit]

  • Dux de Lux, Christchurch & Queenstown
  • Hallertau, Auckland
  • Deep Creek, Browns Bay , Auckland
  • Mussell Inn, Onekawa[24]
  • Brew Moon, Canterbury
  • The Twisted Hop, Christchurch
  • Cassell and Sons, Christchurch

Craft Brewing & Homebrewing Clubs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Carroll, Joanne (20 March 2011). "Beer hops off buyers' lists". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Impressions of New Zealand Tom Cannavan, March 2006,, www.beer-pages.com. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  3. ^ New Zealand breweries directory RateBeer. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ Brewer's Association letter to Justice & Electoral Committee, 20 May 2009
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Voting for prohibition" www.nzhistory.net.nz, retrieved 14 June 2011
  7. ^ Alcoholic Drinks in New Zealand
  8. ^ "Craft beer sales increase by 20 million litres". 3 News NZ. February 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ [2] NZ Hops website
  10. ^ "News | Brewers Guild of New Zealand". Brewersguild.org.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  11. ^ Jono Galuszka (2011-10-01). "Beer Brewers Hit By Hop Shortage". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  12. ^ Peter Watson And Fairfax (2012-10-23). "Co-op confident of avoiding hop shortage". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  13. ^ "Aotearoa Pale Ale » Tuatara Breweries". Tuatarabrewing.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  14. ^ Amber, Gold & Black; Cornell, Martyn; The History Press UK, 2010, p.32
  15. ^ Photo: New Zealand pub scene, 1967, www.nzhistory.net.nz
  16. ^ "Ales and lagers -whats the difference?" NZ Consumer Magazine, June 2007
  17. ^ "Shareholdings". Business.govt.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  18. ^ "DB set to come under full Heineken control - Story - Business". 3 News. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  19. ^ Geoff Griggs (2012-07-26). "Geoff Griggs | Beer". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  20. ^ "Boundary Road Brewery • Boundary Road Brewery". Boundaryroadbrewery.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  21. ^ Charles Cole. "Our beer, no longer here". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  22. ^ "NZ Beer | Lion". Lionco.com. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  23. ^ http://wwww.brewersguild.org.nz/breweries
  24. ^ AA Travel Guide http://www.aatravel.co.nz/101/info/The-Mussel-Inn_1086.htm 101 Must Dos for Kiwis

External links[edit]