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Our Beginnings

The beginnings of Hop Federation is a story that’s easy to relate to: moving from the stress of the city to the idyllic countryside; turning a passion into a livelihood and spending more time as a family.


In 2013, Simon and Nicki Nicholas left their high-pressure Auckland life behind and, with daughter Lily, moved to rural Riwaka, in the heart of the Tasman District’s hop-growing region. In September that year, Hop Federation opened its doors ,as a small independent brewery with an initial offering of four New Zealand style ales.


August 2020 signals another great chapter for Hop Federation as they became part of the Kono whānau. Kono, a Māori-family owned food and beverage business based in the top of the South Island have more than a decade of hop growing experience under their belts.

Simon, Nicki  and the Hop Federation team are still the same team behind the brews. They’re now backed by the Kono whānau who share the same passion for sustainability making a difference in the community and crafting award-winning drinks.

When Hop Grower and Beer Brewer Meet, great things happen.

Visit Us

Located in the village of Riwaka, our brewery is in the heart of hop region and on the way to some of the best recreation in the Top of the South. We’re on the main road to Golden Bay, the Abel Tasman National Park and Kaiteriteri’s popular beaches and mountain bike park, and just a short detour from the Great Taste Cycle Trail.

We’d love to help you appreciate the subtleties and complexities of our beers by sampling them. We offer in store tastings of everything in our range, (this may include a special one off brew or a limited seasonal beer) and we enjoy chatting with you about them and hearing your feedback.

So make us your destination, or drop in next time you’re passing through.
483 Main Road, Riwaka 7198

Our Team

Simon is chief brewer, with a wealth of experience gained as head brewer at Hallertau in Auckland. He has a great sense of smell, finely tuned taste buds and a passion for experimenting, all of which he combines with a commitment to consistency and an appreciation of the traditions of brewing.

Nicki is in charge of sales and marketing. Together with Simon they run the business jointly. Although she initially managed the front of house tasting room, you will often find her working behind the scenes these days on managing the business. Although, if you are lucky enough during the winter months you may capture her serving up tastings in the Tasting Room.

3 beer enthusiasts make up the rest of the Hop Federation Team.

Gareth – He has knowledge and enthusiasm of all beer varieties and of course loves drinking them. Likes to drink hop forward beers when he’s not assisting with making them.

Dean – You will often see him working in the brewery alongside Simon. He has a real love for English style ales but we won’t hold that against him!!!

Jonas – Our most enthusiastic home brewer, you are most likely to find Jonas  talking with visitors and locals alike about our beers. He also brews an amazing German style Pilsner.