Future is bright for brewers

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SWAP your pinot for a pint – Queenstown’s craft beer boom continues with two new breweries opening in as many months.

Altitude Brewing partners Eliott Menzies and Eddie Gapper are expanding with their own lakeside brewery at Frankton Marina.

The company, founded five years ago, took over the site last September, construction work began in late February, and it’s expected to be up and running by mid-July.

Meanwhile, Canyon Food & Brew Co will open in Arthurs Point this Saturday in the former Cavells cafe/bar taken over by Real Journeys.

“The local scene is definitely growing, along with the rest of the country. Now there are 200 breweries in the country and four others in Queenstown,” Menzies says.

“It’s great to see Queenstown becoming almost like the wine industry in the sense there are lots of people working together to create a scene.”

Menzies, 34, first started out in Queenstown – one of the top wine-making spots in New Zealand – by taking his home brews to potential buyers.

It’s a “labour of love”, he says. It took two-and-a-half years before he gave himself a pay cheque.

Now the company produces nearly 200,000 litres a year, the majority bottled by other breweries.

But their Frankton brewery is full of new tanks and equipment, ready for the Arthurs Point-based duo to start producing their range of 28 products.

Inside look: New tanks inside the pair’s Frankton Marina brewery Picture:Joshua Walton

The plan is to offer two or three core beers, but the company intends for its range to constantly evolve.

One of the first produced will be Altitude Persistent High Hefe, which last month took the champion title for the wheat and other grain beer class in this year’s New World Beer and Cider Awards.

“It’s pretty special. This is my personal favourite and one of our longest running recipes. It’s a select medley of malts. It uses all Canterbury malts but it’s specifically designed to emulate European flavours.

“It’s been a long, hard and loving process. I’m one of the lucky people that can say I wake up in the morning and love going to work.”

The award guarantees the company’s product will be distributed around the country. All dozen winners are on sale in New World stores nationwide till Monday, June 25.

See more on this story from The South Today here.

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz