Luciana and Christopher Barber

After having its assets wiped out by Cyclone Gabrielle, Zeelandt Brewery, formerly located in Esk Valley, has its core range of beers back in production using contract brewers in Auckland … for the time being.

This is a good news story for the Bay after a traumatic few months. The family business operated the brewery and garden bar in Esk Valley, which were all wiped out along with their home.

Zeelandt Brewery Managing Director Christopher Barber said it has all been designated Category 3, so they won’t be rebuilding. A contract brewer in Auckland is able to brew on their behalf for the medium term, but the business has plans for possible hospitality venues to replace the garden bar, probably in Napier.

“One day bringing the brewing back to Hawke’s Bay, would be ideal. At the moment we have the business interruption insurance cover, so that has enabled us to start the brewing in Auckland. There are a lot of additional costs for freight and storage. We are still working through insurance and governance about what the future is out there.

“It’s been a huge rollercoaster, there’s been ups and downs, and it definitely was in the cards that we just forget it and do something different. But we kept on talking about it and kept on thinking about how it could work. If we strayed too far away thinking of alternative futures we kept on coming back to keeping it going. We got signs along the way that maybe we should stick to it,” Barber said.

The brewery was opened in 2012 and celebrated 10 years at the end of last year. The restaurant, the Cone and Flower Garden Bar, had been opened for just over a year before the flood. 

The business of Barber’s brother, Petane Wines, also wiped out in the floods, had been going for 11 years. The garden bar was where they promoted and sold both the beer and wine. He was able to recover 12,000 bottles of wine from the brewery, where it was stored.

Zealandt’s beers are sold across the North Island, and had a good following in Hawke’s Bay. The core range is now back in production and available to order once again, he said.

“We are very pleased to announce that our core range is now back in full production and available to order now,” says Barber, head brewer. “Our core range beers are available in in 330mL can, 440mL can, 30L keg, and 50L keg and include favourites Jerry Rig, Good Thief, Black Monk, and Four Stroke.”

Zeelandt Brewery recently ran a successful fundraiser, Back on the Horse, selling two seasonal limited release beers: Brunhilde’s Fate, a German smoked beer and Kaiser Garcia, a lager.

“Thank you to our customers and suppliers who got behind us and lent their support. We’re in the final stages of collecting all the proceeds from this beer, and shortly we’ll be distributing proceeds to BayView Volunteer Fire Brigade, Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter, and the BayView Community Trust.”

Public Interest Journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.

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