I need a beer, things are getting complicated.
Sports fan or not it was great to cheer on the All Blacks with a pint during the RWC. The sorry thing is it was highly likely the beer in question had very little to do with this fine country.
One of the most prominent sponsors was a ‘Dutch lager’ brand made in Auckland by a company from Singapore that has as much business interest in: property, publishing and printing as it does in pouring pints. Also the New Zealand beer scene is dominated by a duopoly, they produce brands that promote themselves to every demographic; from sexist advertising to ‘refined’ continental lagers.
Why does this matter, beer is beer? Well not quite, these large companies would sell you that but this outdated attitude is like saying cars are cars. Beer as a product has a spectrum and much of the mass produced brands pour their profits back into marketing. The musing below perfectly sums up the ridiculousness of this brand loyalty.
“Beer drinkers have been duped by mass marketing into the belief that it makes sense to drink only one brand of beer. In truth, brand loyalty in beer makes no more sense than ‘vegetable loyalty’ in food. Can you imagine it? “No thanks … I’m strictly a broccoli man.” – Stephen Beaumont
Craft beer is the new buzzword; a renaissance in the last ten years has hit Europe, fuelled by a generally greater appreciation of food and drink and spurred on by the remarkable leviathan of brewing that has seen craft beer in the States become one of its fastest growing industries. All this during a recession!
Where does New Zealand fit in? Trends show that craft beer here is following the U.S trend of growth. Micro/nano Breweries are popping up everywhere, and at the helm are brewers that are intelligent and forward thinking. Brewers that have traveled and tasted the great brews of the world and our now back here producing beers that have a nod to a style but use the best of New Zealand ingredients.
We live in a country that produces unique and world renowned hop varieties yet most of our best selling beer brands and their associated breweries would never go near a wonderfully fragrant Wai-iti, Nelson Sauvin or redolent Riwaka hop.
For those craft beer virgins out there I suggest trying to get hold of a few of these easy to find ‘gateway’ beers to get you started:
Emersons Bookbinder: A NZ interpretation on an English style ale.
Tuatara Hefe: a light fruity German style wheat beer.