A southern touch

TO THE FUTURE: Stu McKinlay, brewer and creative director of Yeastie Boys, toasts the company's success and growth plans.
TO THE FUTURE: Stu McKinlay, brewer and creative director of Yeastie Boys, toasts the company's success and growth plans.

Yeastie Boys hopes to fill more glasses around the country as it taps into a new sales and distribution deal and doubles production.

And Invercargill Brewery will be assisting its growth.

From tomorrow, independent beverage distributor Federal Merchants & Co will exclusively sell and distribute Yeastie Boys beer in New Zealand, replacing previous distributor BeerNZ.

But it would also enable the brewer to get more beer to the market, in light of a potential increase in production through its partners at Invercargill Brewery, said Yeastie Boys brewer and creative director Stu McKinlay.

The company is based in Wellington but brews at three sites around the country.

In Invercargill it currently brewed about 100,000 litres a year, McKinlay said.

"We're virtually unlimited in our capacity to grow over the next few years."

The distribution announcement comes shortly after Yeastie Boys brewed a 50,000 litre batch of beer for the JD Wetherspoon's International Real Ale Festival in England.

Yeastie Boys' Gunnamatta earl grey India Pale Ale was voted the top international beer at the event, the largest of its kind in the world.

McKinlay said the new distribution deal would give it more reach into supermarkets, liquor retailers, hotels, restaurants and cafes.

This would include a focus on chain outlets which had "not yet jumped aboard the craft beer train," he said. "This is especially relevant in Auckland, a region we've largely untapped so far."

As well as more beer in more locations, the deal would let Yeastie Boys focus on maintaining the quality of its products while Federal Merchants took control of the sales and distribution.

McKinlay said one of the biggest issues for small producers, like Yeastie Boys, was having a beer listed in a store but not being available.

Federal Merchants are new to craft beer but had a portfolio of national and international drinks brands.

McKinlay and fellow director Sam Possenniskie have just returned from the international festival where they brewed 50,000 litres of the flagship Gunnamatta beer, requiring about 170kg of tea.

McKinlay said they took the opportunity to establish a handshake agreement with a brewery in Scotland to contract brew Yeastie Boys' beer in Europe.

"We are just trying to lock in the last couple of five European distributors to kick off the brewing of our beer over there."

He said the response to the beer, which was brewed with the help of Adnams Brewery in Suffolk, had been incredible.


The Southland Times