Charting a course along the winding path 2021

Dec 27, 2021

The past seven years feel like they’ve flown by in a flash, not to mention the past two.

In many ways, we’re barely recognisable from the fresh-faced brewery that got to work on its first beers on Valentine’s Day 2015.

From a team of five, we’ve now grown to almost 60, working across five different sites, including three retail spaces.

After producing 3,642 hectolitres of beer in our first year, we increased our output slowly but steadily year-on-year, hitting 9,579 by 2019, and you can normally find our beer in 34 countries worldwide.

But, despite those gains, the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on a lot of the momentum we had built to that point and we’ve spent much of the past two years in survival mode instead.

A spell of constant change

Our business has continually switched focus and changed shape, as we’ve tried to make sense of the difficulties society has experienced and best navigate an incredibly uncertain landscape.

Foremost in our minds throughout this period was safeguarding the health, safety and long-term security of our team and, although we’re proud to have been able to successfully do this, we’re now presented with a new set of challenges to overcome as a result of the adaptations we’ve had to make.

To highlight this, we were only able to produce 6,112 hectolitres of beer in 2020 after kicking off the year aiming to break 10,000. The figure for 2021 will only be a little higher than the previous year.

After breaking even in 2020, we're on course to make a small loss in 2021, so we know we've got to work harder than ever before to put our pre-pandemic plans back on track.

Setting a clear course

Consequently, we’ve dedicated a lot of time towards reflecting on the past two years and critically analysing both successes and failures - the kind of valuable work that felt impossible in the intense, ever-changing environment we inhabited for so long.

We’re now in a position where we can build upon these learnings, as well as feedback from drinkers and trade customers, to set new goals for the coming years and plot a positive path forwards.


As part of this work, we wanted to clearly communicate the outcomes with you all, as well as some of the thought processes behind them, so that you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect from us, both in terms of our beer and the wider work we undertake.

So, over the coming days, we’ll be sharing three pieces (click the link to read them once live):

Reflections on the past two years

Our beer in 2022

Our values

Proper DIPA

Our 8th DIPA in our  Proper DIPA series is out this week, called Proper DIPA NZ edition, a perfect example of the beautiful things that happen when modern meets tradition.We've infused Southern Cross and NZ Cascade to accentuate the JW Lees yeast strain.This DIPA excels in both body and hop intensity, delivering a hearty hop medley characterised by quintessential NZ hop aromas of white grape, all culminating in an exceptionally dank finish.Enjoyed in the video by JW Lees brewer Matthew and available in our webshop now. 

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