Whisky goes down a treat

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 06:31 13/06/2014
whiskey
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

WHISKY BUSINESS: Southern Grain Spirits director Matthew Fitzpatrick.

National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
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Holly Duggan gets a pic to remember with Prime Minister John Key at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
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Little Angus Leigh-Mackenzie appears well-equipped to help with chainsawing displays at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

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A decent motor and a tipple at the end of the day are important in farming life, and two first-time Fieldays exhibitors are finding a receptive crowd.

Kaiapoi Distillery has ventured from Canterbury for the first time and Fiat Chrysler NZ is back at Mystery Creek after a gap of around 10 years.

The weather hasn't put farmers and other Fieldays folk off getting to either of their stalls.

In fact, the wintry conditions worked in Kaiapoi Distillery's favour.

"We've never found the weather affected whisky sales. Whisky's a cold weather drink, as is port," Southern Grain Spirits director Matthew Fitzpatrick said.

"It's quite conducive."

The third-generation distiller is a veteran of Southern Field Days, where fellow exhibitors told him his whisky and port would go well in the Waikato.

After a day at Fieldays he confidently predicted they would make money from the experience and sell all the stock they had brought.

"It's the right crowd for us," he said.

"It's [whisky] almost part of farm life ... People enjoy what they do and they enjoy the end of the day, and sociability in the rural areas is everything. These kind of social lubricants are important."

Fiat Chrysler NZ sold cars on day one, their aim in returning to Mystery Creek.

"We're pretty happy about that. The people we've had have been serious buyers," Fiat Chrysler NZ sales and marketing manager Greg MacDonald said.

"They're the hardy souls that are prepared to come out in the driving rain and wind. And by the time they get here they're pretty keen to buy something."

Farmers weren't necessarily chasing the cheapest price but looking for value, he said.

Fiat Chrysler NZ had been absent from Fieldays for around 10 years but decided to come back after they took over the distribution of five brands last year - and it was an ideal platform to launch their 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Setting up the sites cost between $50,000 and $100,000 and a fair few man-hours went in.

They were "definitely" looking to come back again, although MacDonald said they would reassess their interest each year. 

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