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Brewmance: Wellington brewers on the brewers they admire

17 Jun 2019

Wellington’s celebrated craft beer scene is built on friendly collaboration, with local established brewers often happy to share their experience and advice with those starting out in the industry. We spoke to three local Wellington brewers about the brewers they admire and who have helped them out along the way.


Sam Whitney - Heyday Beer Co, Cuba Street

As a devotee to making the likes of bread, pasta and cheese from scratch, when Sam Whitney moved to Wellington nine years ago, it didn’t take long for Sam to start having a crack at brewing with his home brewing friends.

Following a bit of practice, Sam was quickly snapped up by Mike Neilson from Panhead - with Sam marking the first hire outside of the immediate family. These days, Sam is the brewer at Heyday Beer Co, a popular brew bar at the top of Cuba Street. 

Sam finds inspiration in brewer-related podcasts and blogs, as well as cookbooks and his background as a chef. “I’m also inspired by the brewing community in Wellington. The community is supportive and we all tend to help each other out – I’ve had incredible help from Kerry Gray at Husk, and Kelly Ryan from Fork & Brewer." 

Kerry Gray – Husk, Ghuznee Street

After arriving back in Wellington from his OE, Kerry Gray taught himself to home brew. Kerry picked up a kit to teach himself and through YouTube videos, trial and error, soon became one of Wellington’s most well-known brewers.

Shortly after in 2014, Kerry and his good friend Mike Pullin established Choice Bros as they contracted their brewing skills at many of New Zealand’s favourite breweries, including Panhead, Kereru and Townshends. Known for their innovative and quirky beers, Choice Bros took the plunge and set up their own brew pub, Husk, on Ghuznee Street in 2016.

“We were really lucky to form a great relationship with Jos Ruffell at Garage Project as well as the wider brewing community in Wellington. Our early inspiration definitely came from Garage Project and Yeastie Boys, as well as the styles of beer I discovered while overseas.”

Warren Drahota - Double Vision Brewing, Miramar

Double Vision Brewing is the first brew pub in the Miramar peninsula – a suburb typically associated with some of the world’s favourite films like Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and King Kong.

Double Vision's four business partners all met at work where they all suffered from a shared problem: they couldn’t afford decent craft beer. “So, we thought ‘Let’s make our own’ and got in touch with Karl from Te Aro Brewing (now at Brewtown in Upper Hutt),” says Warren.

“Karl was definitely an early inspiration for us, and recommended we buy a 100-litre kit to start brewing. I’ve been lucky to have friends like Kerry Gray at Husk who has been there for us since the beginning. I can call him at any time of the day and he has advice for us.”

Meet Wellington's brewers, try their brews and start your own brewmance this August at Beervana, New Zealand's premier festival of beer. Find out more here.


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