New Zealand’s Deep Creek Brewing Company is launching its Local Lockdown Series, working with six growing breweries across Australia.
Luke Phillips, general manager for Deep Creek Brewing in Australia, said that they wanted to work with brewers who are in the middle of upgrades or who have had an especially challenging time during COVID.
Hemingway’s Brewery is the latest collaborator, but also on the books are Big Shed in South Australia, Moffat Beach Brewing Co. on the Sunshine Coast, One Drop Brewing in Botany, Brisbane’s Revel Brewing and WA’s Blasta Brewing.
“These younger breweries, a lot of them are going through capacity upgrades, Revel and Moffat at the minute are commissioning new breweries and Big Shed has gone through a big expansion.
“A lot of these guys have gone through some really tough times and the situation is really different in New Zealand.
“It has been really strict in Level 4 and then they got to go back to normal almost at Level 1 restrictions, whereas a lot of these guys are running on reduced capacity. So any help is good help.”
Deep Creek was founded in 2011 and has been making major headway since then, not only selling beer across the pond in Australia but also to a number of global markets including China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Scandinavian countries and the UK.
But despite New Zealand’s relatively easy time of it, all businesses have had to adapt, facing some of the toughest COVID restrictions in the world.
“We’ve got to keep pushing on and we’re thankful that we’re coming out of this pretty healthy because we put in a few measures over COVID and you’ll find the businesses that are doing well are the ones that have adapted really well to something that hopefully will never happen again.”
Phillips said they hoped that their distribution clout and brewing experience would be useful to their collaborators.
“The idea is that the host brewery retains the beer, we help them move into states they might not normally have access to.
“Matty and Shaz at Moffs haven’t moved beer out of Queensland so we’re using our distributor to help them get some cases down south and get them exposed to markets they’re not normally exposed to.
“If we can help out in any way, we will. We are all open to sharing things and making the beer industry better.”
Matty Wilson of Moffat Beach said that the team were excited about the chance to work with Deep Creek.
“We are heavily in the commissioning stage of our new production facility and we are very close to having it up and running,” he told Brews News.
“As soon as we get dialled in we can’t wait to work with one of New Zealand’s most critically-acclaimed and respected brewing outfits.”
But working out recipes while travel restrictions in place was tricky.
“I’m the liaison for the guys over here, but our head brewer Hamish Ward generally gets on a Zoom call with the guys and Hamish is pretty experienced and wants to help and develop recipe with the host breweries, working within the capacity of what they can do.
“Another thing I’ve been mindful of is not to push their schedules around, they have to brew their beers first, and do ours when we can fit it in. Blasta have been so busy they’ve had to move us to November!”
Head brewer Hamish Ward said they were keen to fit the beer to the host brewery’s market too.
“For us, probably playing to the strengths of the people we are partnering with and what the markets they are in is a big part of the decision process,” he said.
“Obviously, Hemingway’s up in North Queensland, the climate lends itself to lagers. It’s such a good tropical beer in the tropics, and we wanted to bring a Trans Tasman take to this, so a good combination of Australian and New Zealand hops and it should play really well in a lager.”
Phillips said that following COVID-19, the Australia-New Zealand relationships would be more important than ever as global travel restrictions look set to last.
“We wanted to help out our Aussie mates – we might have stoush on Sunday when the Wallabies take on the All Blacks, but Australia-New Zealand relationships, except on the rugby field, are quite solid.
“The benefit is that people can learn from each other, at the end of the day, we just want to help
“Collaborations are meant to be collaborative – they’re about people getting together and developing things they haven’t developed before and having some fun.
“That’s what great about craft beer, we’re competitors but we’re still friends.”
The beers will be available to the breweries’ local areas, but also to the wider market via Beer Cartel and a number of bottle shops. There will also be a series of events, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions, the first in Brisbane in mid-November at The Woods.