Karis Rae says she almost wondered what she got her family in for after taking up a friend's offer to buy their cider business as the world plunged into despair from the Covid-19 epidemic.
Rae, of Kāpiti, said a friend offered her the Crooked Cider business and while excited to get up and running, it almost instantly went into hibernation due to the worldwide outbreak of Covid in early 2020.
"It was just on not so much a whim, but we had bought this business just right before Covid happened so it was immediately practically put into hibernation.
"So as we were getting started again there were issues around the distribution channels into New Zealand, it was really hard to get up and running again, and was a bit of whim in entering the competition."
Rae said she bought the business from a friend as she had a lot going on in her life at the time.
"She brought me a case of this cider and I think I said I liked it like three times ... and she said, 'why don't you just buy the business?'
"Because she had so much going on in her life, I thought it would be a shame to see it die, but then Covid hit."
However, months later it resurrected and after ironing out a few issues they decided to start small and distribute through cafes in Palmerston North where Jaime and Amara are studying at university.
"We started in Palmy, we're now in Kapiti and Wellington and now in Wairararpa ... next year we're aiming for Taupo and Napier and then work our way up the North Island."
Their plan to continue small this year had now been slightly scuppered after two of their ciders - apple and blackcurrant and pure apple - made the top 30 in the New World Beer and Cider Awards alongside the big beer names of Behemoth, Garage Project and Liberty.
Rae, originally from the "hinterlands" of Whanganui, said she was surprised by the win, given all their obstacles last year, but is now excited their ciders will be available in all New World supermarkets across the country.
Meanwhile, awards judge Michael Donaldson said other newbies to join the top 30 include Burkes Brewing Co from Tekapō – one of the country's smallest and most remote craft beer producers, and Baylands Brewery.
As for what's new, the crazy of the controversial Hazy IPA - adored by many, but detested by the beer purist, was now well entrenched in New Zealand with more than 100 entries and five taking out spots in the top 100.
"The five hazy winners – again from a mix of both established and new producers, are all surprisingly different while still sticking to those-must have hazy qualities: lush tropical fruit, creamy body and a sweet finish."
In contrast, two "Brut" beers from Auckland brewery Urbanaut, which are made using the same techniques invented to create low-carb beers, offer a dryer option.
Liberty Brewing and Panhead were the only two breweries to take out three spots in the top 30.