Born-again brew­ery gets crafty

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

the beer brew­ing cli­mate had changed sig­nif­i­cantly.

Just 13 years ago there were only 30 brew­eries op­er­at­ing in New Zealand com­pared to the 250-plus brew­eries to­day.

‘‘I mean, back then, we called the com­pany Re­nais­sance be­cause we felt like it was the Dark Ages of beer in New Zealand,’’ Thiel said.

‘‘There were a few peo­ple around, like Emer­son’s was one that was around and Tu­atara. It def­i­nitely wasn’t the ocean of craft brew­eries that we have now.’’

The fu­ture looked grim, and it seemed as though Marl­bor­ough – and the world – would have to bid farewell to a beer su­per­star.

New Zealand re­tail com­pany Brand­house stepped in and saved the day, deem­ing the ail­ing busi­ness the ‘‘per­fect match."

Brand­house founder Ja­son Del­laca, of the Del­laca fam­ily (which founded Postie Plus), said the Re­nais­sance brand was ‘‘amaz­ing’’.

‘‘We weren’t specif­i­cally look­ing for a brew­ery but, when we were made aware of what hap­pened with Re­nais­sance, we were tapped on the shoul­der and asked if we were in­ter­ested in hav­ing a look. So, we did.

‘‘We did some due dili­gence and, ob­vi­ously, quite quickly re­alised that the Re­nais­sance brand is amaz­ing. They brew amaz­ing beer. They had a re­ally strong pres­ence in New Zealand and peo­ple held a lot of affin­ity to the brand, so in the end it was a bit of a no-brainer for us,’’ he said.

‘‘So it worked out to be a pretty good mar­riage, I guess.’’

Del­laca said that mov­ing the brew­ery out of Marl­bor­ough, was never an op­tion to them. Op­er­a­tions will con­tinue at the his­toric brew­ery.

‘‘Def­i­nitely, Marl­bor­ough is a big part of the brand story, so we 100 per cent from day one, never thought about mov­ing it out of Marl­bor­ough.

‘‘It is a Marl­bor­ough brand and we have ev­ery in­ten­tion on stay­ing there. The build­ing is fan­tas­tic, be­ing the old­est com­mer­cial build­ing in Blen­heim,’’ he said.

Both Del­laca and Thiel are ex­cited about the fu­ture.

In recog­ni­tion of their love for ev­ery­thing lo­cal, the beer com­pany re­cently col­lab­o­rated with the steam train com­pany op­er­at­ing the Marl­bor­ough Flyer to pro­duce a lager, which can be pur­chased on board and at the Wine Sta­tion.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely made you re­alise that if you can band to­gether with other brands that are strong in a re­gion, it cer­tainly works,’’ Del­laca said.

The com­pany also hoped to di­ver­sify into other con­sum­ables such as six packs and cans.

‘‘Yeah, in terms of look­ing to the fu­ture, we are pretty ex­cited and we’re about to take own­er­ship of a can­ning line, so we can start do­ing cans,’’ Del­laca said.

With things mov­ing at a fu­ri­ous pace in the beer game, time will only tell how things will fare for this beer com­pany’s new Re­nais­sance. One thing is for sure, there will al­ways be a place for a cold brew in wine coun­try.

‘‘It takes lots of beer to make good wine,’’ Thiel said. ‘‘All those peo­ple that do vin­tages and things like that, they re­ally en­joy beer at the end of their work.’’

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