Beer garden is toast of New Zealand
Dodson Street Beer Garden publican Dietmar Schnarre had reason to celebrate last night, after finding out his bar was named the New Zealand Best Restaurant/Cafe in the Beer and Brewer magazine's People's Choice Awards.
The restaurant and bar also tied for third place in the Best Large Bar/Pub New Zealand (less than 150 patrons) in the popular drinks magazine.
"I didn't know we would be nominated. After just two years [in business], I am pretty stoked," Schnarre said.
Schnarre took over Dodson Street in September 2012 and has teamed up with neighbour Renaissance Brewing as the "home of Renaissance".
It's the formula for success, he said.
Schnarre and Renaissance head brewer Andy Deuchars agreed the recognition was perhaps one of the highest accolades for a brewery.
"Now we will work even harder to maintain that standard," Schnarre said.
Deuchars was voted third in Beer and Brewer's Brewer of the Year category.
This acknowledgement of the restaurant and the reflection on the craft beer was great, Deuchars said.
"The international recognition is great. It's huge [for us]."
The results from the awards were tallied from readers' votes on the best beer venues, beers and brewers in New Zealand and Australia.
Schnarre said the win had reassured him in his decision to give up the lease he holds for Drylands Restaurant in Rapaura to focus on the Blenheim beer garden.
Schnarre took over the lease for the restaurant on Hammerichs Rd in 2007 and has catered many weddings since then, he said.
"After 261 weddings in seven years I have decided to not renew the lease.
"Dodson's has become bigger than I first thought.
"I wanted to have both . . . [but] this was just the right thing," he said.
The lease for Drylands officially ends on Sunday.