My neighbourhood’s getting mighty crowded when it comes to breweries
In eight minutes I can walk to ParrotDog, or I can be at Garage Project in 25 minutes. If I feel like staying, I can go to brew bars Fork & Brewer (20 minutes) or Black Dog (eight minutes). And for DIY I can be at The Occasional Brewer in 18 minutes. Not a bad sort of Beertown at all*.
This hoppy 'hood became more crowded last week when the Te Aro Brewing Co. started commercial production at 130 Tory Street (10 minutes). Wellington’s newest brewery is tucked away behind Brewtopia brewing supplies store and both businesses are owned by entrepreneurial Irishman Karl Hayes.
Karl began Brewtopia by selling imported brewing kit from his home in Lower Hutt. What started as a pocket money gig turned into a viable business.
“I took the plunge, maxed out the credit card and brought in a load of shiny stainless steel from China. I found it to be reasonable to good quality so I sold the good quality stuff, made a bit of coin, went again to China and that’s grown month on month.” Karl opened a shop in Lower Hutt in July 2013 and moved to Te Aro last October.
The brewery is germinating, with a 120l kit preparing to launch at Beervana. “When we get our new kit in the first week of August our capacity here will be just shy of 200,000l a year at full production.”
The aim is to run a cellar door featuring Te Aro Brewing Co.’s beer, and complement that in Brewtopia by selling brewing kits (full grain and wort-pack) so homebrewers can emulate the brews. “All our recipes will be open source and the idea is that homebrewers can bring their efforts to us for feedback”.
While Karl is an experienced homebrewer himself, he has recruited Choice Bros’ Kerry Gray as Te Aro’s brewer. Kerry says homebrewing has been revolutionised by the ever-growing availability of good kit. “We’re reintroducing people to homebrewing. They might have tried The Occasional Brewer, good quality ingredients are a lot more available and the internet makes recipes and advice easy to find.”
Visit Te Aro brewing tomorrow Friday 26 June. It’s an open brew day and they’ll be making their stout. You knew them before they got famous!