Tue, 03 Apr 2018
Three mates in a derelict petrol station… It was a poetically dingy start for Wellington Brewers, Garage Project. Their craft beers are now available throughout New Zealand and internationally, with distributors in Australia, Norway, Sweden, USA, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The mates - actually two brothers and a lifelong best friend of one - came together in a happy collision of timing, talent and mutual ethics in 2011. Their equipment was a 50-litre brew kit and their premises were a garage. Their promise was to experiment, push the boundaries and brew really interesting beers. The trio pulled that off beautifully, with part of the first year’s efforts being 24 beers brewed in 24 weeks and rated by the public on the back of coasters. A behemoth of a challenge to put it plainly! They began as they intended to continue, with risk-taking abandon.
In 2012, the garage became another garage, a disused petrol station and workshop previously owned by legendary race car driver and mechanic Sybil Lupp. A 10-US barrel system was installed and the business of creating innovative beers continued in earnest. The inner-city Wellington location further blossomed to include Cellar Door tasting and a Taproom just across the street. With no rest for the wicked(-ly up and coming), a cellar door has now sprung up in Auckland's Kingsland, too much local excitement.
Garage Project brews complex and varied beers with a unique variety of ingredients and an adventurous approach to their methods - like the hot rocks fired up in the garage forecourt to create Red Rocks Reserve back in 2012. The guys now travel the world to source hops, purchase used tequila barrels and research brewing techniques.
One of Garage Project’s instantly noticeable quirks is their labelling. Each of their products has its own distinct label, all created by local artists and often featuring a hefty dose of drollery. No carbon copy brand heavy labels here, just pure art and collaboration. Partnerships are frequent at Garage Project, like the recent collaboration with fashion label Twenty-Seven Names resulting in 'Golden Age', a barrel-aged blended sour featuring golden kiwifruit, mango and passionfruit.
In recent news, the business won the title of Champion Brewer at the 2017 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards last October. This must be a real top-note for the trailblazing Kiwis at the helm of Garage Project. It also shows that while so much has already been done, there is still plenty of opportunity for ingenuity to thrive. Innovativeness is out there, brewing up in garages far and wide.
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