An Albert Town man's act of spilling more than 12,000 litres of beer at the brewery he worked at was a "crime of passion", counsel Liam Collins told the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
Kenneth William Super, 53, was appearing before Judge Mark Callaghan on three charges: burglary of Wanaka Beerworks on November 4 last year and possession of the class C-controlled drug cannabis and cultivation of cannabis the following day.
Mr Collins said the defendant had suffered a breakdown, and did not set out, "as in the case of arson, to cause wanton or reckless damage".
"This was a crime of passion - a passion for the business.
"These craft brewers take particular care and sensitivity about their art."
Judge Callaghan said Super had taken issue with how Wanaka Beerworks was being operated by new management after the sale of the company three months earlier.
On the evening of November 4, Super entered the building and opened valves on tanks holding a total of more than 12,000 litres of beer in various states of fermentation. The beer spilled on to the footpath outside and seeped through the building's walls, causing damage to an adjoining toy museum.
Total damage was estimated at nearly $80,000.
Police found 170g of cannabis plant material, 65 cannabis seeds and four cannabis plants at his home when he was arrested the next day.
Judge Callaghan said Super's actions were a "nasty, vengeful assault" on the business owners.
"While change can be hard for all to accept, to take the actions you did was inexplicable."
A presentence report indicated the defendant had drug and alcohol issues, and had "snapped" when his new employers told him his job performance did not meet their standards.
Aggravating factors were the substantial losses caused and the premeditation and abuse of trust the defendant had shown.
Mitigating factors included the defendant's remorse and immediate guilty plea, and his offer to make amends.
On the burglary charge, Super was convicted and sentenced to 400 hours' community work and 12 months' supervision. Special conditions include undertaking a drug and alcohol assessment and any treatment or counselling as directed.
He must also pay $26,000 reparation at $100 a week.
On the charge of cannabis cultivation, Super was convicted and sentenced to 100 hours' community work, to be served concurrently. He was convicted and discharged on the charge of cannabis possession.