The hard work is done, and now it’s time for a beer.
Fourteen months after Craftwork Brewery owners Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien took hold of the keys to their new premises at 10 Harbour St, they are ‘‘very, very excited’’ to be open for business today.
Mr O’Brien said they had been in the new building or doing something towards the business every day of those 14 months.
‘‘There’s no such things as holiday or weekends, you just keep going. That’s how. . .small businesses are,’’ he said.
‘‘I didn’t think it would take this long, and this much work, but having seen it all — it sort of makes sense.’’
The couple decided to move their barrel and tasting room from across the road at 17 Harbour St to the former Oasis Oamaru building after out-growing the space.
Initially they had their sights set on opening for last November’s Victorian Heritage Celebrations, which ended up being cancelled, but many things ended up taking longer than they anticipated.
‘‘Covid probably had a little bit to do with it, and material shortage a little bit to do with it,’’ Ms Scotti said.
‘‘Also just being in a small town, and not having people at your fingertips.’’
The heritage building was owned by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust, which meant extra care had to be taken. The trust had been ‘‘pretty wonderful’’ and very helpful, she said.
Ms Scotti said she and Mr O’Brien were also ‘‘a bit indecisive’’ about what they wanted.
‘‘It was quite a kind-of organic sort of thing that happened, it wasn’t just, ‘we know exactly what we want’, which slowed things down too.
‘We’re not technical people. We’re probably more creative than we are anything else.’’
The pair said the business was a pub. There were 15 taps, which would pour a wide range of Craftwork beer, two from Wanaka brewery Rhyme and Reason, as well as three wines and one cider. The wines in stock were all natural, lo-fi, and organic, if not biodynamic.
To accompany drinks there would be a variety of New Zealand small-batch cheeses, along with toasted sandwiches, cheese rolls, pickled eggs and biersticks.
Beer and wine tastings were available, and group bookings could be made for the ‘‘snug’’ area, which was off-limits to the general public, Ms Scotti said.
‘‘We want people to want to educate themselves about beer and wine, and they can even have a staff member talk them through it, we can kind of tailor it to people’s needs.’’
Craftwork would be open seven days, from 1pm to 7pm, except Friday and Saturday, when it would close at 8pm.
‘‘This place is about atmosphere, it’s not a booze barn,’’ she said.
The vast space had been furnished to create a cosy feel, with little nooks, and strategically placed plants for privacy.
The couple were ‘‘extremely grateful’’ to friends who had helped out over the past 14 months.
‘‘Quite a few of them have done a ridiculous amount of hours for love not money, and that is amazing,’’ Mr O’Brien said.
Bar manager Alyssa Prentice was an integral part of the team, had completed a beer judging certification programme and had a lot of knowledge about all beer styles and natural wine, Ms Scotti said.
Now that the doors were open, the plan was to ‘‘just be consistent’’.
‘‘Brew consistently, open the doors consistently, just be part of the street again — part of Harbour St, which we love.’’