Hobbiton set front becomes licensed pub

KASHKA TUNSTALL
Last updated 12:56 14/11/2012
Good George
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ
HOBBITON LOCAL: Good George Brewery owner Jason Macklow (front) and brewing director Brian Watson.

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Hobbit fans flocking to the Waikato for a taste of movie location Hobbiton will also be able to imbibe a Middle Earth brew made right here in the Waikato.

Hamilton brewery Good George has won the right to be the official brewer of the Hobbiton movie set, supplying the beer to Hobbiton's one and only pub, the Green Dragon.

The iconic pub, which featured in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and was burned to the ground for the last instalment The Return of the King, was rebuilt for Peter Jackson's upcoming Hobbit movie trilogy.

The reconstruction turned what was a set front into a legitimate licensed pub and as a new feature on the tour following The Hobbit's release, fans will able to enjoy a swig at the hobbit local after they have a look around the hobbit holes.

The pub is only open to those on the Hobbiton tour.

Good George won the contract to be suppliers over major Kiwi breweries vying for the job, brewery co-owner Jason Macklow said.

"We're local, near by and they really liked our pitch," he said. "I had to pinch myself."

A Hobbiton beer committee selected two beers, a cider and a ginger beer (for teetotallers) brewed on site at Good George as the drinks available on tap at the pub.

The drinks are exclusive to the Hobbit watering hole - you won't be able to get a draught anywhere else but at the Green Dragon.

The recipe is secret but Macklow said the beers are traditional tipples reminiscent of a good old English ale and the first order to Hobbiton will see the brewery providing a couple of hundred kegs to the set.

Matamata and Hobbiton are expecting visitor numbers to at least double following the world wide premiere of The Hobbit on November 28 and 130 international media will catch an early drink at the Green Dragon on November 29.

Good George opened only eight weeks ago and Macklow said the brewery is stretched to capacity, taking on a brewer in the Hawkes Bay to help meet the growing demand.

Hamilton's only on-site craft brewery, the $2 million development in Frankton is the brainchild of Macklow, and Waikato businessmen Darrel Hadley, Nathan Sweetman and Brian Watson.

Macklow said the brewers were making two and a half times the volume of they were expecting at this stage and already the brewery is hitting second-year targets.

"It's all going exceptionally well," he said.

"I've never seen a brand embraced so quickly."

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Good George will be importing extra brewing equipment from Canada that will double the capacity produced at the site. The brewing team, headed by Kelly Ryan, has expanded from two to three.

- Waikato Times

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