Wanaka home for brillig brew
It started off as home-brew made in a pot and a tea urn in the garden shed.
Now its going to be made in a proper brewery – Wanaka Beer Works.
Clyde couple Ruenell and Mike Wing, of Jabberwocky Brewery, recently bought the iconic Wanaka brewery, based at the airport, from the Kiener-De Vylder family. The Wings took ownership last week.
Wing is awell-known Earnscleugh viticulturist from the Waikato who came snowboarding down here 11 years ago, and never went back. His wife is originally from Johannesburg in South Africa. They met while on their OE in London. Then she came out to New Zealand, and they got married – and here they are, fulfilling a personal dream with ownership of a craft brewery.
‘‘It’s very exciting - a massive mortgage and a baby in one year,’’ the mother of seven-month old Zara laughed.
Along with Jabberwocky business partner Scott Beattie of Alexandra, Wing started ‘‘messing about in the shed’’ seven years ago with a home brew kit.
They’d been perfecting their signature pale ale for a few years and properly tested the water with it at the annual Alexandra Blossom Festival ‘‘In the Park’’ last year.
‘‘It took us three months to brew it – and it was all gone in one afternoon,’’ he said.
Its success meant they had to make larger quantities, which involved taking it to craft beer makers, Invercargill Brewery.
However, while Wing said he was grateful for the help and advice of brewer Steve Nally, it was time to find Jabberwocky, the name inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem, a permanent home.
‘‘You can’t quite get a sense of making your own beer if you don’t have your own brewery.’’
Wanaka Beer Works came up for sale just at the right time.
The plan is to keep its old-world European-tasting beers exactly the same, with brewers Ken Super and Andrew Boulton continuing to run the Wanaka operation, and to brew the ‘‘new world’’ kiwistyle Jabberwocky pale and red ales under the same roof, while keeping the two labels separate.
‘‘That way we can zip them together, and they’ll compliment each other.’’
The Wing-Beattie partnership intends showing their craft beers at major festivals over the spring and summer.
New brewers: Wanaka Beer Works’ new owners Ruenell and Mike Wing of Clyde took over the Wanaka-based operation last week.