Catlins Brewery seeks off-licence

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The Catlins Brewery at Kaka Point could soon be upgraded.

Director and head brewer Norm MacLeod has lodged an application for an off-licence for his brewery, which would allow him to sell his bottled craft beer from the site.

He and his business partner would also like to put in a tasting room next to the brewery, which could seat a maximum of 10 people.

“The visitors could sit in this area with some beers to taste, and look out at the great view over the beach.”

The application had been lodged and it was now a matter of waiting for any objectors to the licence being granted to emerge.

“We’re operating on council time now .. hopefully we can get it before Christmas, but there’s no way of knowing.”

Mr MacLeod is confident no-one will object.

He did not yet know how much the project would cost, saying he was focused on getting the consents required.

The brewery is run from a garage, which is fully equipped with multiple tanks and rows of pipes and taps, many modified for purpose by Mr MacLeod, drawing on his experience as an engineer.

Many of the beers on tap have names and back-stories that reflect their origin in the Catlins area, such as the Yellow-Eyed Pilsner, the Port Molyneux IPA and the Nuggety Black Stout.

The Catlins Brewery recently had a successful stint at the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival.

Mr MacLeod said beer festivals were a great way for craft brewers to get immediate feedback on their product.

“They do all the promotion for you .. It isn’t often that you get to sell eight kegs in one day.”

Mr MacLeod got his start as a home-brewer while at polytech in the early 2000s. After a hiatus, he was introduced by a friend to all-grain brewing, and started winning medals in national brewing competitions from about 2013.

“Then I thought I might as well have a go at doing this for real.”

Mr MacLeod said cross-country craft beer tours were becoming more popular in New Zealand, like wine-tasting tours in the past.

“We want to take advantage of that. There are whole circuits of pubs and breweries around the South Island people can go through.

“These developments will allow it to become more of an ‘airbnb experience’ where they can come in, try the beer and then go off to bed without worrying about having to drive.”