Blenheim’s Renaissance Brewing needs experienced brewers.
Co-founder Brian Thiel says Renaissance has been hit with unexpected job vacancies over the past three months.
Former Director of Brewing Andy Deuchars has moved away from the businesses he helped establish, to work closer to his Christchurch home.
“He’s been living in Christchurch for nearly two years and coming back and forth to Blenheim. And now [after the Kaikoura earthquake] that’s become very difficult. Initially he was taking the bus, but as the roads deteriorated with the heavy traffic, now the bus has turned from a six-hour to an eight-hour because of all the road works. The train’s not running. We even looked at flying but that’s expensive, and there just wasn’t an easy solution to that problem”, says Brian.
“It’s really disappointing. He’s a great brewer and a great friend. He’s still a director, still a shareholder, still involved in new products and quality control, he’s just not here day-to-day.”
Next, assistant brewer Dale Gould was headhunted for the head brewer role at Wellington’s Whistling Sisters brewpub, currently under construction.
Then head brewer Alex Scott, who came to Renaissance with valuable skills and qualifications last year, suddenly decided to leave.
“The one that’s really caught us out very unexpectedly is Alex. About six weeks ago Alex went home to the UK to see his mother. The long and short of it is that he came back to New Zealand and told us he’s decided to move back to the UK. He told us on literally his first day back. I was like ‘Fuck! OK…’ and you can quote me on that.
“The only reason that Andy felt comfortable with his decision to step away was that we had so much confidence in Alex. He was just everything we wanted and now we have to look for somebody else.”
Brian’s role has traditionally been in supporting brewers and maintaining the equipment. Now he’s filling-in in brewing roles too. “Over the years I’ve learned how to brew and as an interim step potentially I’ll do some more. I don’t classify myself as a brewer coz I’m not that creative person who designs recipes, but if someone hands me a recipe I can make that and do a good job of it. We’re looking for a brewer with some qualifications and some commercial experience.”
Renaissance has a history of producing skilled brewers who graduate to open their own breweries. 8 Wired’s Søren Eriksen began his commercial career there. More recently, Renaissance alumnus Matt Dainty opened his own Boneface Brewing in Upper Hutt.
Last year Renaissance made some fundamental changes to management and distribution. Sam Hobson joined as chief executive last April, with a CV in management in different primary industries. Eurovintage was appointed as the New Zealand sales partner. Renaissance is a member of the NZ Beer Collective, selling into the UK, and exports to 12 other countries.