Born-again brewery gets crafty
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.’’