Tiamana is the Maori word for German, and Tiamana owner and Bossypants, Annika Naschitzki is certainly that. She grew up in Berlin, witnessed the fall off the Wall, and is a brewer’s daughter.
Beertown.NZ: What got you interested in brewing?
Annika: I am the daughter of a brewer, but I never had an interest in beer until three years ago. I’d arrived from Germany and was working in an office job and thinking, 'Is that all there is?’ Garage Project had just started up and someone handed me an IPA and suddenly I was interested in beer. And it clicked – 'Hang on, I’m a brewers daughter, this craft beer thing is happening, I’ve got money aside, maybe I can pull this off!’
Annika started developing her business plan, making beer, and looking for premises. She met Llew Bardecki of Wild & Woolly Brewing and the pair set up joint premises in a small industrial area tucked away behind Wellington’s Basin Reserve.
What sort of beers do you like making?
Any brewer starting out has to be very aware about why they are doing this. You need have your little niche in the whole ecosystem. That was my motivator all along – there are not many credible German-styled beers out there.
And many are not as I remember them. Like pilsners – I like my pilsners to have a malty base and sweetness, and realised just how different the noble German hops are from New Zealand hops. So I thought a good German pilsner would do well. Brewing a lager is quite a skill and a lot of experienced brewers know their pale ales but brewing a lager is different again.
Dopplebock is an interesting style to me. It’s like the anti-IPA, big malt, chewy, raisins and toffee, so many layers of flavour, and it’s still a lager. I love it.
I’m doing a Berliner Weisse, but original recipe, as in not kettle-soured. Kettle souring can be difficult and make tons of butyric acid so you get vomit, cheesy flavours to it. My father made Berliner Weisse at Schultheiss and he can’t believe it is now an international style. They used to have a blended lacto-yeast in symbiosis, and that’s what I’m going to use and let it rest for months. It will then flavoured with woodruff my parents got for me. You can’t get it here and that’s the original tradition.
Tiamana has recently received an 800L fermenter – proudly named Hildegard – allowing double batches.
That will allow us to brew once a week.
There’s always that premeditated plan of you grow and you grow, but I don’t want this to get bigger than I can handle. I’m fine with brewing once a week because brewing is the least difficult part of the process in terms of time and effort. The brew day is the relaxed day. Keg deliveries, pick ups, cleaning. Sales is hard work and takes a lot of time at our size. Every keg takes time to sell because there’s so many brewers to choose from, so why would they go for a brand they’ve not heard of yet?
I didn’t go into this to be the next Panhead and fill 8000L fermenters. I like these styles, I like my niche, and I don’t want to have to push these beers out the door just because I’m under financial pressure. I want to enjoy this process. This is a lifestyle as much as a business to me.