Tui head brewer preparing to 'unleash the beast' after revamp at Mangatainoka
The blink-and-you'll-miss-it reality of the town of Mangatainoka has long been tempered by the existence of its famous and much-loved Tui Brewery.
Over the years since the modern version of the guided tours started in 2006, an average of about 40,000 visitors a year have visited the tiny Tararua town, boosting local business and creating jobs.
A recent revamp hopes to boost numbers again above its record yearly visitor amount of 55,000 in 2011.
A big part of the redevelopment was the building of a new boutique brewery that will create a new range of beers for the central region.
Tui Mangatainoka head brewer Tupu Gregory worked his way up through the ranks at DB Breweries after leaving university with a marine sciences degree. He started out at DB Waitemata as a filler operator and after learning the ropes over the past 16 years is proud to be running the brewing operation.
Gregory is excited about the new German engineered brewing equipment and is looking forward to having a bit of freedom with what he decides to have a crack at creating.
"The boss said if you want to brew something, have a go, so he is happy to unleash the beast," he laughed.
"The redevelopment signals that the home of Tui is here to stay. Production requirements have changed and we now have a bespoke, fit for purpose brewery, which gives us greater flexibility. This is the best outcome for the brand, and the region, as we're able to produce a number of unique beers especially for the central region."
Owner/operators of the tour business Nick Rogers and Rosie Broughton run the tours independently of DB Breweries.
Rogers said while still working for DB he was tasked with finding someone to take over the tour operation. He realised it would be a good fit for him and it went on from there.
"The recent upgrade enables us to better offer a really rewarding and different experience that people respond to. We like people to come to Mangatainoka and then take a story away with them. That's what it's all about."
Broughton said the tour experience has been recognised over the years as one of DB's best marketing tools. Even though the brewery and the tours are technically separate businesses now, they operate in a symbiosis that is mutually beneficial.
"We have to work really closely with DB and it works well the way it has been set up. People normally know about the brand when they decide to come here, but often leave here in love with it."