Canterbury's craft beer industry is celebrating after winning a haul of medals from the Brewers Guild of New Zealand, with Harrington's Breweries awarded the supreme trophy.
The 11th annual awards were held in Wellington last night, with about 450 entries from breweries across the country. The beer was blind-tasted for flavour, colour, alcohol volume and the technical detail dictated by each style.
Guild acting secretary Tim Sugden said Canterbury always performed admirably, "but it's obvious this year is an even better one and the Harrington's result is phenomenal".
John Harrington, 70, had retired from life as a publican at 42 but decided to open "a little brewery" as a hobby.
The company is now the city's oldest and largest brewing and bottling company, producing 26 varieties of beer with a plant worth about $4 million.
The region's other big winner was the Three Boys Brewery, which won eight medals, including a gold for its Oyster Stout.
The Twisted Hop started brewing on February 22, a year after the business was crippled by the earthquake.
The first batch, named Marmalale for its hint of mandarin, was responsible for one of its four bronze medals. The Wigram Brewing Co won two trophies and a gold and bronze, while Cassels & Sons won a gold, silver and bronze.
A brewing collaboration between Rolleston's Golden Eagle Brewery and Raindogs Brewing, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, won a silver medal.
A market survey released by the guild this month shows that despite a drop in the overall consumption of beer, craft beer consumption is on the rise. The number of breweries in New Zealand increased from 48 in 2008 to 68 by the end of last year, while smaller craft breweries (producing less than 40,000 litres a year) doubled from 15 to 30.
The total craft beer market has grown by 14 per cent in the past six months.
The Beervana expo is on in Wellington this weekend, featuring 271 brews from 96 breweries.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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