The man credited with changing beer drinking habits in this country, Terry McCashin, has died.

McCashin, a former All Black, passed away this week.

He was in his mid-70s.

McCashin, together with his wife Bev, founded the country's first craft brewery in 1981 in Nelson.

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After nearly 20 years of hard slog the couple sold the Mac's brand to Lion Nathan in 1999.

Their son kept on the family tradition and in 2009 re-opened the brewery, which makes the Stoke brand of beer.

People have paid tribute to McCashin on social media this afternoon.

Wakachangi Lager - a beer brand created by Hauraki host Leigh Hart - posted on Facebook that McCashin was a "true New Zealand legend".

"It's with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to a true New Zealand legend, Terry McCashin. Terry is credited with starting the "craft beer revolution" in New Zealand, and changing the course of the beer industry in this country, but he was so much more than that, farmer, family man, All Black but most importantly all round good bloke," the post said.

"Without going into too much detail, it would be fair to say 'we as a brand' simply wouldn't exist today if it wasn't for the belief, experience and 'can do' attitude of Terry and the McCashin family. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this very sad time. Godspeed Terry," Wakachangi said.