Most of you will know that we bought what was the Monkey Wizard Brewery in September 2013, following our hearts to a less stressful life in rural Riwaka, and rebranded it as Hop Federation. Simon now has his dream job – chief brewer in his own brewery - and we’re loving running a family business in the beautiful landscape that surrounds our new home.
But it’s not all beer and skittles, so to speak – there’s been a lot of hard work in the last 12 months to get the business up and running to where we are today. Our core range of Hop Federation beers was launched in Nov 2013: Golden, Pale Ale, American Brown Ale, Red IPA. You can read the tasting notes for these beers here
To start with we focused on getting the beers into local outlets – restaurants, bars and retail. It’s an ongoing job that has been made so much easier by the fantastic support we’ve had from the local community – they have welcomed us with open arms. We signed with a South Island distributor (Long Cloud Wines & Spirits) to sell our bottled range further afield; you’ll find our growing list of Hop Federation stockists here
Last summer (2013/14) was truly amazing with great support from enthusiastic cyclists on the Great Taste Trail stopping to sample a cool beer, and locals and tourists alike calling in on their way to and from Kaiteriteri or Golden Bay. We love spending time in the tasting room with whoever calls in to sample the beers and buy a few bottles to take home.
March 2014 was a big month for us. We took part in what is fast becoming the best beer festival in New Zealand – MarchFest. Participating Brewers picked a hop out of a hat in the Hop Ballot, and the hop they picked was the hope they had to brew with for this year’s festival. Our hop for the 2014 festival was Rakau, so we made the Rakau IPA, which disappeared as fast as a ferret down a rabbit hole.
Also in March we welcomed our first full time permanent employee - Daniel Sharp . Daniel is our brewery assistant. He previously worked at Moa beers, is a professional engineer and a local Riwaka boy. We’re loving having him on board.
In April we had our first "Brew with the Brewer " – Hayden Granger spent a day with Simon in the brewery. We’ve worked out that this is a cool prize for a keen home brewer so keep an eye on the local news for an upcoming competition.
And finally, during May we trialled Friday Pizza and Beer Nights – they were great fun, tasty and delicious and we will revisit this again in the future.
So that’s the last tweleve months in a nutshell. We’ll be updating this blog monthly with news and events so come back soon.
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