Beer bringing good cheer

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Business is going well for two Oamaru beer lovers who created their own craft beer company earlier this year.

Craftwork Brewery owners Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien started their small company, which specialises in Belgian beer, in March 2014 with a 50-litre Braumeister and do everything by hand apart from the labels which are done by Oamaru artists.

Mr O’Brien said, although this was not an effective money-making scheme, they were doing well with Riverstone Kitchen and South Hill New World stocking the beer as well as places in big cities like Auckland and Wellington.

“It became fairly popular fairly quickly.”

But because their beer has a long brewing time of at least three months they had been having trouble supplying it – a problem which should be sorted by October/November.

“We can’t really keep up with demand,” Mr O’Brien said.

They both have other jobs that they like and would not want to expand the business at this stage because it would mean diluting the handmade brand.

“It’s as much as we can handle.”

Mr O’Brien, who has been creating beer for about 20 years, said they decided to start the company after doing well in several home brew competitions.

This year they have also been asked to have a stall at the Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival on October 4.

“I’m nervous and excited,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said having the company is gratifying, especially seeing something he had created in a labelled bottle with a barcode.

“That’s a strange and quite nice feeling.

“We really like doing it.”

Ms Scotti said seeing the beer in its box ready to be sold is a really satisfying feeling but she also liked the whole process of creating the beer by hand.

“I love it.”

The process was a long one, in the beer world, but that meant the beer they created was full of flavour and character, she said.

Ms Scotti said they would be going to Belgium next year for five weeks to tour breweries and they would also be releasing a new beer for Christmas.

The pair have also finished concreting an area so they can create more sour beer and barrel-aged beer.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

BREWING UP A STORM: Oamaru’s Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien have ventured successfully into commercial craft beer brewing.