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

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