Winemakers must be ‘more worried’
He’s brewed over 100 varieties of beer in his lifetime. They’ve won him many an award too. Now his company is up for another one.
Luke Nicholas, founder, owner and brewer of the Epic Brewing Company is nowhere near the finish line, with a new beer brewing every month.
The firm is a finalist at the New Zealand Food Awards in the Countdown Alcoholic Beverages Award category.
When he started Epic, 12 years ago, people who were beer drinkers had given up and moved to wine because it was more interesting, he recalls.
‘‘But I think all those people are starting to come back to beer. The winemakers should be more worried than anyone about losing sales.’’
Epic makes six beers that are available year round.
They release a new beer every month, so that would be about 18 to 20 beers annually. Some of them come back if they’re popular, some are seasonal.
‘‘All of the beers I make are beers I want to drink,’’ he says without picking just one.
The beers are made at the Steam Brewing Company contract brewing ¯inOsite ta¯huhu.
Most popular of all is Pale Ale, while I.P.A. is quickly catching up. Hop Zombie is their biggest export to China, which is also their biggest
‘‘All of the beers I make are beers I want to drink.’’
export market right now, followed by Australia.
He’s been brewing for two decades and has a few tips for home brewers - add more hops, filter the water, don’t ferment in plastic and use liquid yeast.
Nicholas’ recipe for success is simple, he wanted to drink the best beer, so he’s decided on making the best beer he can, by using the best ingredients he can find.
His travels around the globe inspire him to create new flavours and aromas for his beers.
‘‘I use a lot of malt from the UK and Germany, and hops from the US. I go to the farms, meet the farmers, see what their challenges are, the new trends. I use New Zealand hops as well ... it comes from the Nelson region,’’ he says
He is interested in craft beer and says if it didn’t take off it New Zealand, ‘‘I would probably be a winemaker or a chef. I enjoy bringing flavours together and creating something new’’.
The New Zealand Food Awards, in association with Massey University, is on October 12 at SkyCity in Auckland.
$212.75. to the event start at