We’re a pretty sceptical bunch here at Australian Brews News and when I saw that NZ advertising agency Clemenger was behind a project top create the beer that best describes Wellington, I could see cynical marketing ploy written all over it. But as with most good conspiracy theories, our scepticism didn’t bear up to much scrutiny. With names like Yeastie Boys, Tuatara and Parrot Dog involved, and Cryer Malt’s David Cryer telling us how ‘into beer’ the Clemenger boys and girls are, I had to unsaddle the high horse and lead it back into the stable.
Below is the Yeastie Boy’s take on the project. It’s great to see creative advertising minds looking at ways to celebrate the best aspects of beer and enhancing its credibility, rather than reinforcing its reputation as being only the drink of choice for unshaven blokes on men-only fishing trips. With this sort of thing happening on both sides of the Tasman, things are looking good for interesting beer.
Wellington in a Pint
For the last few months we have been working on a very exciting project with Wellington advertising agency Clemenger BBDO. Wellington in a Pint was officially launched with a significant hiss and roar late last week at a jam-packed Fork and Brewer. Think froth spraying from a bottle of beer instead of the usual Champagne. Think smart, intelligent, good-looking people drinking craft beer (and the occasional whisky) instead of the wine and cocktails they would normally be pictured with. Think fun!
Wellington in a Pint has our four local commercial breweries near its centre but at its true heart is our fantastic creative community, whether that’s advertising agency who came up with the original concept, the beer savvy men and women on the street who are now suggesting the concepts we end up working towards, the homebrewers who will turn those concepts into the a beers that Tuatara, Garage Project, ParrotDog or ourselves finally brew, or the pubs and bottle stores of our fair city that will dispense the end result. Wellington in a Pint will result in beers that truly are for the people and by the people… and the fact that there is no mention of traditional beer styles or any brewing jargon whatsoever in the brief means the concept is as wide open to people as the beers we like to brew. It is all inclusive. Those who know Sam and I well will know that this makes us very very excited.
With the speed that these ideas spread on social media, I’ve already found the tall poppy cutters asking (jokingly, I’m sure) “What is this? Another show of Wellington insecurity” or “Can’t Wellington just enjoy a pint without some cenceptual celebratory advertisement”.
Certainly some people probably see what we’re doing here, and what the Craft Beer Capital team did before us, as the sort of negative regionalism touched on by Kelly Ryan or take it for exactly what it is: a group of keen people shouting loudly about the depth and breadth of the great beer scene we have here in Wellington.
You see we’re far from insecure here in Wellington, and we can certainly enjoy a quiet pint or three without mentioning it, but we love to celebrate the folk that make our city so wonderful… what else do we have? It certainly ain’t the weather. Or the money. Most of all, of course, we do love great beer and having fun. Y’all know that, of course, that’s why we see you here so often. The people are why why we have some of the best pubs, whether they’re serving “local” beer or the ones imported from Auckland (or Norway).
I often think we’re a lot better at making and serving beer than we are about telling people about it. Others may disagree with me but it’s likely that those people are already in the middle of the NZ beer scene. These people generally don’t know about the New Zealand beer scene because we tell them about it, they know because people came here looking for it or stumbled across it. Clemenger are doing a grand job in promoting this little gem we have, while showing off their own skills at the same time. I see Wellington in a Pint as an opportunity to show people just how well we have unshackled ourselves from what beer was… we’re no longer a country filled with breweries just brewing “gold, amber and black”. We’re about peat-smoked golden ales, southern clam (or oyster) stouts, imperial coffee porters, wild plum ales and 18% barrel-aged ales (more on that fro some friends of our later). We can be anything we want next… maybe a “flat wit” (a Belgian wit dry hopped with coffee beans).
In the early nineties a section of the London music scene was dubbed, by outsiders, as “the scene that celebrates itself”. In truth they were passionate and vocal about what they were doing, they were unique and original, they immersed themselves in music – their own and their peers, and they knew where they’d come from but were innovative in where they were going… they went on to change the face of the music world (and some of them continue to do so). We have always intended to do something similar in regards to beer, I’m sure our other three brewing partners in this project think along similar lines, even if we are all doing it in different ways. This project has the makings of something that will be remembered as a part of the way Wellington changed to face of beer. I am proud to be involved in this scene that celebrates itself.
The launch yet again proved to me what a interesting crowd we have in the Wellington beer scene. From the brewers to the drinkers, from bar owners to bar flies, through restaurateurs and musicians, to IT consultants, tradespeople, students and stay-at-home mums and dads who enjoy a beer. Sometimes we forget this on a day to day basis but when a group of people gather for good beer I am truly blown away by the diversity of those unique folk at the epicentre of our exciting revolution. And then there is the thought of the totally unrelated revolution they are involved with themselves, the one that has nothing to do with beer. Nights like this make me more thankful than ever to be involved. And more excited about the next person I’ll meet and the different journey they are intersecting our path from.
The as-yet-unknown Wellington in a Pint beers are pencilled in for release in the weeks leading up to Beervana. With Cryer Malt as a major sponsor I am sure you’ll see the beers on tap (in the Wellington stand) at that event in mid-August. Check it!
And if you’re skeptical, remember, this is not a case of “mine’s bigger than yours” but a simple “isn’t mine beautiful?” And, yes, I would like you to show us yours. We can all learn a lot from each other.