Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small Business: Craft brewers

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Caitlin Sykes finds out more about craft brewers. Photo / Thinkstock
Caitlin Sykes finds out more about craft brewers. Photo / Thinkstock

Santa and reindeer, Sonny and Cher, summer and beer - some things are just meant to go together.

This week I take a look at the craft brewing sector, which even a quick glance along the shelves of your local supermarket liquor aisle will show you is booming.

Craig Bowen, founder of BeerNZ, which distributes the wares of 35 Kiwi craft brewers, says while Kiwis' overall beer consumption is static, the craft beer category is growing around 20 per cent a year.

Growing consumer sophistication and innovation by brewers are among some of the trends he points to for the upward curve.
Rotorua-based brewer Paul Croucher, of the Croucher Brewing Company, says he got into the business after sensing the momentous shift in our wine and coffee drinking habits was going to hit the beer industry.

Like fellow brewer Ralph Bungard, of Christchurch-based Three Boys Brewery, Croucher's background was as an academic scientist. Both say those science skills haven't got amiss in the brewing business.

Bungard and Croucher were also both early movers in the industry here, and have been in the business for a decade.

Innovation and improvisation in the absence of big bucks are hallmarks of the reborn microbrewing industry.

Soren Eriksen named his brewery, 8 Wired Brewing, after the Kiwi can-do mentality. His can-do approach includes setting up his operation as a 'virtual brewery', brewing 8 Wired's beers on equipment that he rents from other breweries.

- NZ Herald

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Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Caitlin Sykes has been a business journalist for more than a decade, including eight years at the award-winning Unlimited business magazine, where she was writer, deputy editor and, most recently, editor. She currently is the Small Business editor of, specialising in issues relevant to small and medium enterprises in the New Zealand economy.

Read more by Caitlin Sykes

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