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Who grows the hops and brews the beers?

Meet the growers and brewers behind the super-fresh brews.

The talented teams behind the 2021 limited release super-fresh brews



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 their 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. Bayland’s 2021 brew of Waifly 7 is the seventh iteration of its flagship fresh hop beer – a first class showcase of Nelson Sauvin hops.


Life’s too short to take too seriously, so Behemoth are serious about one just thing – fun beers that are big on flavour. Just eight years on from swapping a legal career for one in beer, founder Andrew Childs and his 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). Behemoth’s 2021 fresh hop beer will champion New Zealand hop-favourite, Nelson Sauvin from Clayton Hops in Tapawera.


Epic – named in homage of the monumental journey it takes to reach New Zealand’s beautiful shores – is one of the original local crafters of big aroma beers with bold hop flavours. After founder Luke Nicholas first started bottling his hoppy creations in 1998, critics took notice, and the Auckland brewery now boasts the country’s most awarded beer - the Armageddon IPA. Epic will stay true to form with its 2021 Fresh Hop offering - a West Coast style IPA that lets our newest hop star, Nectaron®, shine.

Garage Project

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. ‘One Day in March’ is a snapshot of a single day’s hop harvest in 2021, captured in an utterly unique Hazy IPA.


A passion for homebrewing and a desire for more flavoursome beers drove Joe and Christina Wood to establish Liberty Brewing in West Auckland 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. In 2021, Liberty is set to wow again with its famous fresh hop beer Invictus, this time using Nectaron® hops.


The Parrotdog story is almost legendary… In just under a decade three Matts – Kristofski, Warner and Stevens, have grown from humble beginnings in their basement flat to become a fully-fledged commercial brewery and darling business of the New Zealand brewing scene. Today Parrotdog continues to reach for new heights with their approachable, simple and uncomplicated beers that are as popular as ever and a regular in chillers and on taps all around the country. For the 2021 fresh hop season, Parrotdog’s Brent Hazy IPA will showcase the intense tropical passionfruit and citrus aromas of Nectaron® hops.


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. Sawmill's 2021 Fresh Hop Riwaka is a hazy IPA all about NZ’s hero hop, a true taste of the Tasman region’s best.


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. It’s no surprise then that Urbanaut’s 2021 fresh hop offering is an extra special mixed six pack, with each beer celebrating a different variety of New Zealand hop.

About the hop farmers


Clayton Hops

Three brothers, four farms and a passion for producing top quality hops: Clayton Hops is one of New Zealand’s newest – and now largest – hop growers, supplying to brewers around the country and the globe. Owned and operated by brothers Andrew, Glen and Brian Clayton, the trio’s ‘make-it-happen’ mindset has seen them establish (so far) around 240 hectares of hop garden across four farms since 2016, with plans to double production in the coming years, and all with a commitment to long-term environmental well-being. They grow six of New Zealand’s most-loved varieties, including the ‘craft beer cult hero’ Riwaka, which features in Sawmill’s 2021 fresh hop brew, and the Nelson Sauvin in Behemoth’s aptly named Hop Brothers IPA.

Freestyle Hops

Freestyle Hops is located in the thriving artisan community of Upper Moutere, a growing region renowned for its vineyards, orchards and hop gardens. Knowing the true measure of a hop is in the flavour and aroma it imparts in your beer, the Freestyle team are constantly experimenting and collaborating with the country’s top brewers to produce exceptional results. In all, they grow nine of New Zealand’s favourite varieties, and have many exciting developments in the pipeline. For the 2021 fresh hop season Freestyle is partnering with other like-minded, boundary-pushing beer makers, supplying Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Southern Cross, NZ Cascade and Waimea for Garage Project’s One Day in March, Urbanaut’s Fresh Hop Mixed 6 Pack and Baylands’ Waifly 7.

Photo by Chocolate Dog Studio


Hinetai Hops

Hop farming runs in the blood for Director of Hinetai Hops Dean Palmer, who can trace his hop-growing lineage back to his great grandfather in the late-1800s. Today, Hinetai is the culmination of generations of family farming knowledge and Dean’s own love and fascination for hops – something that’s been brewing since he was a young boy exploring the hop farm next door. In both 2016 and 2019 Hinetai Hops earned the ‘Grower of the Year’ title awarded by NZ Hops – the cooperative of Master Growers. Hinetai’s Nectaron® – a new variety developed by Plant & Food Research and NZ Hops and harvested for wide commercial use for the first time in 2021, will be championed in Epic’s Green Machine IPA and Liberty’s Invictus.

Photo by Chocolate Dog Studio


Mac Hops

The McGlashen family were one of the pioneering family businesses in Nelson’s relatively small hop growing community, and now five generations on, they remain a key player in the NZ Hops cooperative of Master Growers. Today, Director Brent McGlashen still puts the same enthusiasm into harvest time as he did as a boy, learning under the watchful eye of his father and grandfather (yep, he still spends busy harvest nights catching any sleep he can near the hop kiln!). Experts in all things hops, Mac Hops now produces more than 19 commercial hop varieties including New Zealand’s newest hop, Nectaron®, which will star in Parrotdog’s Brent during the 2021 fresh hop beer season.