A major earthquake has struck New Zealand’s second largest city Christchurch, causing injuries and widespread damage. Buildings have collapsed and power outages have been reported.
Greig McGill, Secretary of New Zealand’s Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) Inc has filed a report on what is known currently on the effects on the local brewing scene…
This morning’s earthquake in Christchurch was a cause of stress and worry for many in New Zealand. A stalwart SOBA member and good friend tweeted “Is it bad that after the people, my first thought was ‘is the Twisted Hop ok?’”. He wasn’t alone.
Christchurch is something of a beer paradise in New Zealand, with several excellent brewers, some great pubs, and the driving force behind craft beer distribution company BeerNZ all headquartered there. We were all worried about the people behind our favourite pints, as well as their breweries and pubs which are their livelihoods.
Luckily, with mainstream media caught shockingly off guard, and information sparse at best, Twitter came to the rescue. Three Boys brewer Ralph Bungard let us know that his fermenting and conditioning vessels looked like they’d been dancing, but he was fine. Pomeroys pub informed us that they were all OK, but a power outage meant they were seeking a generator. It’s great to know that even after this disaster, they were focused on serving cool beer for their “shaken” customers.
Where Twitter failed, cell phones picked up the slack. Beer distributor and all-round great guy Craig Bowen advised via text that he was OK, but that everything was “f***ing chaos” down there. We’ve yet to hear from Real Ale geniuses The Twisted Hop, or anyone from the Dux de Lux, but there have been no reported deaths and only a few serious injuries, so we’re sure they are OK.
Be sure and spare a thought as you raise a glass to the great beer people of Christchurch as they pick up the pieces and get back to making and selling great beer.
UPDATE 7 Sept
AFP Reports that the earthquake has disrupted supplies from Lion Nathan’s Christchurch Brewery.
While the brewery itself was not damaged, a warehouse was with considerable loss of stock.
“Our offsite… warehouse has been significantly affected and remains closed. We are currently looking for alternative warehousing but we have lost considerable inventory,” Lion Nathan spokeswoman Judy Walter told AFP.
Walter said the company was currently filling urgent orders only out of its Auckland stores and though supplies to Christchurch would resume within 24 hours, it could be “a number of weeks” before drinks were again flowing freely.
The brewery itself, which produces six beers including international brands Becks, Guinness and Kilkenny and supplies the entire South island, had been “largely assessed by a structural engineer and cleared for use,” Walter said.
“The clean-up process is now underway there, but production is unlikely to recommence before the end of next week as all machinery needs to be fully inspected and tested,” she said.