Meet the crafty creators behind the Top 30 brews in the New World Beer & Cider Awards. You can also explore more with the New Zealand Ale Trail – just click here.
8 Wired Brewing
Once a small start-up, born during the infancy of the New Zealand craft beer revolution, 8 Wired Brewery now boasts one of the largest barrel ageing system in the southern hemisphere.
Located in Warkworth, alongside a new taproom and eatery in Matakana, founder Soren Eriksen and his team are specialists in crafting 'new world interpretations of old-world style beers' and are much loved for their daring and award-winning sours.
Bach Brewing Company
Bach Brewing founder Craig Cooper grew-up exploring some of New Zealand's favourite coastlines and a love for the iconic Kiwi Bach is central to the brand’s identity today… escape, freedom, simplicity and time spent with family and friends.
The family-owned 'gypsy brewing' company located between the shores of Auckland’s harbours focus on freshness, with flavours and aromas that complement coastal living.
Based in vibrant Petone, Baylands Brewery is the prized passion project of Aidan and Louise Styles. The small family-owned business, which began as a garage operation in 2012, has already quadrupled production and opened a 24-tap cellar door.
One to watch, this team’s dedication to ‘making awesome independent beer’ is continuing to win them new fans, and awards too.
Behemoth Brewing Company
Life’s too short to take too seriously, so Behemoth is serious about one just thing – fun beers that are big on flavour.
Eight years in, the team have crafted hundreds of beers, won multiple awards and started expanding into brew pubs. A growing fanbase now eagerly await every new beer creation (and to see what Behemoth’s fun-loving, toothy mascot Churly will get up to next).
Boneface Brewing Company
Sci-fi and beer might seem like an unlikely combination, but together they inspired Matt Dainty to create Boneface, and a whole new world was born.
All Boneface beers are cleverly crafted in the beer mecca of Upper Hutt to incorporate Planet Hoptron (that’s the Planet of Hops, if you are wondering), and its inhabitants, for award-winning results.
Burkes Brewing Company
Founder Seb Burke took his home brewing to the next level in 2015 when he established Burkes Brewing in the middle of the Mackenzie High Country.
While one of New Zealand’s smallest breweries with a distinctly local following, there is nothing small about the flavour of Burke’s award-winning beer, or their commitment to quality.
A family owned and operated craft brewery dedicated to producing consistently good beer, Cassels produce beverages that get noticed.
Set in the heart of Woolston, Christchurch, the team at Cassels are passionate about using local ingredients to brew top-quality beers. The Cassels team combine years of brewing passion and a drive to innovate to create their delicious award-winning beers.
There is no hiding behind any artificial flavours or sweeteners, Crooked Ciders are made of 100% New Zealand apples, fermented to perfection. With a passion for sourcing local ingredients and 'making apples talk', Crooked Ciders is an expert in the game.
As new names in the business but already receiving plenty of accolades - the team at Crooked Cider are at the start of an exciting journey.
Deep Creek Brewing
Deep Creek started as a small brewery in 2011 in the Auckland suburb of Silverdale and have since blown up on the international stage - across the ditch and further afield in Asia and Europe.
With a desire to experiment with bold flavours, the people behind Deep Creek specialise in producing premium beers that promise to take you on an adventure.
Located on the stunning Kaikoura coast, Emporium Brewing is a family-run brewery that has been going since 2015. With the success of their homebrew shop in Christchurch, Paul and Laura Finney relocated to Kaikoura to fulfil their dream of housing their own brewery.
Since then, they’ve conquered everything from earthquakes and lockdowns to continue to wow fans with an increasing variety of delicious beer styles.
Garage Project Brewery
The Garage Project story began with three beer-loving mates and a derelict petrol station in Aro Valley, Wellington. What the trio lacked in size, they made up for in ability and the willingness to experiment, growing into one of the most renowned names in the beer business.
Known for pushing the boundaries inside the can, and out, founders Pete, Ian and Jos' risk-taking spirit remains as they continue to experiment and expand into new beer frontiers.
Isthmus Brewing Co
Hailing from Auckland's isthmus, husband-and-wife team Hamish Ward and Caroline Muller-Ward are behind Isthmus Brewing Company. Between raising kids, renovating their home and working other jobs, the pair have managed to grow a successful business, delighting Kiwis with their unique and flavoursome craft beers. They now have a string of beer awards behind them, a testament to their hard work and creative talent for producing exceptional brews.
Liberty Brewing Company
A passion for homebrewing and a desire for more flavoursome beers drove Joe and Christina Wood to establish Liberty Brewing ten years ago.
With a small but mighty team of close family and friends operating from rural Helensville, Liberty’s core range of iconic beers have attracted a cult-like following among beer fans.
Sticklers for quality, they’ve also collected a cabinet full of awards – including Champion Brewery from the Brewers Guild of NZ in 2019.
Inspired by the surf, sand, their Scottish heritage and a love of craft beer, trio Jason, Clayton and Geoff established McLeod's Brewery in 2014.
With Waipū considered their childhood summer home-away-from-home, there was no other place to start up. The trio have since left their mark by launching their brewery and the Waipū Pizza Barn – now an iconic landmark of Waipū and immensely popular among locals and travellers alike.
Panhead Custom Ales
Panhead Custom Ales are the craft beer engineers of Upper Hutt, their veins flowing with a combustible mix of heavily hopped ale. Founder Mike Neilson started brewing his four stock brews in 2013 at the old Dunlop tyre factory in Maidstone, and the public quickly caught on.
Now brewing some of New Zealand’s best-selling craft beers, The Panhead brew crew continue to maintain the brewery’s legendary reputation for quality and consistency.
In the heart of wine-country Marlborough lies Renaissance brewery. With Marlborough well-regarded for its wine, Renaissance brings attention to the hops and malt the region also has to offer. Renaissance has been producing quality craft beer since 2005 and are considered pioneers in the field. They use British, American and European styles to make their range to produce traditional flavours that Kiwis love. Renaissance pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients to showcase New Zealand hops and malt.
Set in the rural rolling hills of Matakana, Sawmill was founded back in 2004 and is led by Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay. Their small and independent team share a steadfast commitment to brewing top-quality beer while taking a new approach to business in line with their ethos of ‘thinking for ourselves’. Always aiming for resourcefulness and creativity, Sawmill was the first craft brewery in New Zealand to become B Corp Certified - setting them apart as a leader in running their business.
Born from a challenge to produce a lager of international quality right here in New Zealand, Steinlager has for over 60 years championed national pride with its range of award-winning lagers.
Since its first Steinlager Classic launched over half a decade ago, the brewery now boasts an impressive core range, all made with NZ grown hops, and brewed in Auckland. True to its original spirit, Steinlager is always on hand to remind our country it can take on the world.
Quickly outgrowing his one-man shed operation, Townshend Brewery owner and founder Martin now operates the popular commercial brewery in Motueka, focused on taking the best ingredients to produce its range of beers. Showcasing Nelson hops and ancient waters from the Motueka aquifier, Townshend has helped put sunny Nelson on the map for craft brewing, a winner with the locals and beer lovers further afield.
Urbanaut Brewing Company
While the Urbanaut brewery is set in metropolitan Auckland, its beers are designed with the explorer in mind, with each new drop an ode to the international city it was inspired by. With each new brew designed to take fans on a different journey that celebrates global flavours and styles, no two Urbanaut beers are the same.
The only constant is the team’s dedication to crafting the finest beer, whether it is one of their classics or an exciting new special.
Zeffer Cider Company
The journey for Zeffer began in 2008 when Sam and Hannah quit their day jobs to pursue the craft of cider making. Popularity at their local Farmers' Market soon saw Zeffer’s freshly crushed ciders available on supermarket shelves. The cidery has since relocated to sunny Hawke's Bay and there has been no looking back as Zeffer continues to pioneer the craft cider movement.
Zeffer can now be found across the world, putting New Zealand on the map for top quality apple cider and craft beverages.