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Kiwi breweries show off their craft

Friday 14 Mar 2014 8:50 a.m.

The Brewers Guild says Kiwi beer consumers are maturing, opting for more interesting beers in smaller quantities.

That's good news for the craft beer industry which is continuing to grow, and it's on show at this weekend's Beer Festival in Auckland.

Around 11,000 people are expected to attend the festival, where they will be treated to Kiwi music, Kiwi food and Kiwi craft beer.

Kiwis have long had a love affair with beer, and now there's more to choose from than ever before.

About 13 different types line the walls at the Deep Creek Brewing Co, and in true Kiwi fashion everything started in a garage.

Two-and-a-half years on the business boasts three bars, a brewery and more than 60 staff.

"We produce all our own craft beers right on site, give people a bit of an experience where they can come down, watch a beer being brewed and see it journey from tank through to their glass," says Scott Taylor, Deep Creek operations manager.

Brewing your own drop can be hard work, especially when taking on industry heavyweights like DB and Lion.

"To be able to get tap space for a craft brewery, it's a big challenge," says Mr Taylor, "which is actually why we decided to build our own pubs – so we didn't have to fight everyone else for tap space."

But it seems the hard work is paying off as more and more Kiwis are drinking beer. Recent figures show the amount of beer available in New Zealand increased by 3.2 percent last year to 289 million litres.

Brewers Guild president Ralph Bungard says while craft beer makes up less than 5 percent of the market, it's the only growing sector of the industry.

"There's certainly more Kiwis drinking craft beer than ever before, and there are a lot more craft breweries in New Zealand – there's about 70 on the Brewers Guild books at the moment, so that's a big increase from the old days when there were two major breweries in New Zealand."

Mr Bungard says New Zealand beers are world class.

"We have a fantastic hop industry, and we've got a great malt – particularly here in Canterbury. Also you've got Nelson and Motueka hops, and some of those are really cutting-edge hops for the world."

Which is proving good business for local breweries and better drinking for Kiwis.

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