They will soon be drinking our beer there.
Nelson’s Sprig & Fern Brewery is opening a tavern in Auckland.
It is the company’s eighth tavern and its second outside the Nelson region. They hope to open in Auckland in June or July.
Co-owner and head brewer Tracy Banner said the company had a lease on an historic building in Freeman’s Bay on the doorstep of the Victoria Market upgrade.
The building the pub would be based in had been various pub for many years and was most recently The Drake.
Sprig & Fern opened its first tavern in Milton St Nelson in 2007. It now has six Sprig & Fern taverns in the Nelson Tasman region and its first Wellington tavern opened on Tinakori Rd in March 2012.
Mrs Banner said it was possible that by the end of the year there would be 10 Sprig & Fern pubs nationally.
The Auckland tavern would be run by the brewery and beer would be brewed at its Richmond brewery and shipped to Auckland, as it did with its Wellington tavern.
‘‘It’s exciting times really.’’
She said the expansion was part of its business plans to look at the main centres.
Co-owner Dave Barrett said the Auckland building was built in 1857 and was a beautiful iconic structure and it was a real coup for a Nelson brewery to be given a lease on it. Considerable time and effort would be made bringing back some of the building’s historic features.
‘‘The landlord was like Sprig and who?’’
The craft beer market in Auckland was still fairly new, but was growing rapidly, he said.
‘‘I think we have timed it to perfection. The market in Auckland is going to be quite excited when they see what the Sprig and Fern is about. There is nothing really like it there.’’
Mr Barrett said he believed six Sprig & Fern taverns were enough for the Nelson region and the business would now concentrate growing outside the region.
It was working on establishing a second tavern in Wellington and Christchurch in accordance with its business plan of setting up in the main centres.
Mr Barrett said Sprig & Fern beer would continue to be brewed in the Nelson region. The business was fiercely parochial and wanted to remain in the region.
‘‘We’ve been in Nelson five to six years and had two to three employees, now we have a dozen and we are looking to continue to grow that.’’
He said he was humbled by the business’ growth and support from the community, and he believed its success was due to its great beer, its staff, its locations and philosophy of its taverns being home away from home with no pokies, no pool tables and no TVs.
The taverns were clearly taverns, not restaurants, and that concept was also clear to customers. Mr Barrett said he was looking forward to Nelsonians heading to Auckland and visiting the Auckland Sprig for ‘‘a little slice of home’’.
He said the Auckland tavern was important and the brewery would manage it to start with as it wanted ‘‘to get it right’’.
It was possible that they might look at getting an owner operator ‘‘further down the track’’.
‘‘We want to hang onto it at this stage. It’s an iconic building and our first step into Auckland, we certainly do not see it as our last.’
- © Fairfax NZ News
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