Boutique beer heaven
The Southland palate received a crash course in craft beer on Saturday, with brewers from all over the country attending the inaugural Hop'n'Vine beer festival.
Some of New Zealand's top craft breweries were showing their wares at the event, which was held at the ILT Stadium Southland Velodrome.
Invercargill Brewery and Catlins Brewery flew the flag for Southland, amongst other wellknown names such as Tuatara, EPIC, Garage Project, and Liberty.
Kevin Downie, who organised the event with Chris Montgomery, said about 700 people attended the festival.
"We're over the moon – the event was fabulous.
"The feedback has been absolutely positive, and there were no problems with excessive drunkenness.
"We could have had 1000 people there, but we didn't want it to be too full with huge queues and cramped space for people. "
Downie said the festival was an opportunity build the profile of craft beer in the region, and in particular showcase Southland brewers.
"Craft beer is about discovering new things - it's not beer swilling, it's beer tasting.
"Some of the beers hadn't been down to Southland before, it's opened peoples' minds to something new.
"We're just hoping more local bars and restaurants can take on some of these new beers."
As well as beer, there was also wine, cider, and food for attendees to sample.
The velodrome track was also in use during the festival.
"We arranged for the best cyclists available [at several different levels] to race while the festival was going on – it just added to the whole atmosphere."
Invercargill Brewery founder Steve Nally said the festival was a great chance to promote the industry.
"I thought the event was brilliant.
"There was a good crowd, and the drinking behaviour was great – no problems at all.
"Beer has been demonised for quite a while as something that's wrong with our society - but if you give people choice, they'll behave in the proper manner.
Nally said the rise of craft beer was a trend that was gathering speed around the world.
"People are wanting more of this.
"It's global – if you look at a country like America you see that 11 per cent of their total [beer] sales now are craft beer."