A day in the life of a North End brewer
Each week, we ask a high-profile New Zealander to share a photo memory. Kieran Haslett-Moore is head brewer and founding partner at North End Brewery Company in Waikanae on the Kapit Coast. He is among the 18 judges at this year's New World Beer & Cider Awards, being held at Westpac Stadium on February 9 and 10.
This photo was taken in 2014, just before our brewery was installed.
We'd been a contract brewer for several years and were transitioning to being a bricks-and-mortar brewery.
I was a cheesemonger for six and a half years – I was working in kitchens while studying and looking for a "real job" and not finding one. I wanted to get out of night work and saw an advert at Moore Wilson's [gourmet grocery store in Wellington] and went to work for them, working my way up to running their cheese department. At the same time I was really into beer and started to homebrew with flatmates.
That set the horse off on a different tangent.
I have a degree in sociology and politics and a graduate diploma in social policy. It's not an uncommon situation in the craft brewing industry – we have a doctor of sociology as the head brewer of a big name in craft, and lots of social policy people. We've got quite a few trained drug and alcohol counsellors who run craft breweries.
I was headhunted to be the beer specialist for Regional Wines and Spirits. For another six-odd years, I ran their beer business. I started to do commercial brews and collaborations – I'd go down and brew with [Dunedin brewery] Emerson's each year and I've brewed with Twisted Hop and Liberty breweries.
The bit where the brewery is used to be a swimwear warehouse, and the bit where the restaurant and pub out the front is, used to be a homecare company and a physiotherapist's.
This picture represents the very start of North End's barrel-ageing programme, our first two barrels.
The beer in there – the Baby Grand – is a Flanders Red Ale. It picks up character from the wine barrels which are Hawke's Bay cab sav barrels.
If the barrels have been empty for a while, the wood shrinks, contracts and they stop being water- tight. You have to fill them with liquid to get them to swell back up. So we filled these barrels with water to get them to swell up, and one of them leaked a lot. We hadn't put in a wet floor or drains or anything.
We spent the whole day mopping furiously to stop the water from flooding into the physio's offices.
I really had no intention – apart from a back-of- the-head little fantasy – of becoming a commercial brewer. It was just when the opportunity was opened up for me that I decided yeah, OK, that's the right thing to do.
- Your Weekend