Moa Brewing will be at GABS Again This Year!

Moa Brewing will be at GABS Again This Year!

After the success of The Great Australian Beer Festival (GABS) last year, Moa plans to return to the festival. Here is a bit of a Q&A from the guys.

Why be in Australia?

Australia is a huge beer market. It’s close to NZ, so relatively inexpensive to freight product to, compared to the US or Europe. And the craft beer market is growing by the day, with demand for both local and international beers expanding.

What’s Moa’s goal?

We want to be a successful brewery, producing good beers, which are known for being NZ made, by a NZ owned brewery. We want to be successful in the craft beer world, however, success is defined in a lot of ways, and the best part of our industry, is no two breweries are producing the same beer, or have the same aspirations, or even business model. So as much as some in the craft industry want us all to be under the “craft” banner, it’s important for all of us to accept we operate differently, with different strategies and goals. Our competition is not each other. It’s probably other less complex or machine made beers.

How big is Moa?

We have approx. 25 staff, and this year will produce in excess of 5 million bottles of beer. We have keg beer (draught), sessionable or gateway beers, bottle conditioned “bigger” beers and very complex reserve beers which are unique to Moa, and very well received. And a very popular apple cider. Our brewer also produces limited release beers regularly, pushing the boundaries of flavour and ingredients.

What do we think of the craft beer market in Australia?

Melbourne leads the pack. Its very like our Wellington scene, with a sophisticated audience, and a large number of breweries supplying the market. Sydney and Brisbane are on fire with the growth of craft venues. And each state is very parochial regarding their local breweries. It’s still a hot country, and a lot of beer is drunk as it always has, to quench the thirst after a bloody hard day. Not all craft suits this drinker, but increasingly the number of beer drinkers with a “bigger” palate are turning to craft.

How is the retail environment different from NZ?

We can sell in our supermarkets. Over here, your supermarket players own liquor outlets. However, both counties have 2 dominant players in these spaces, and the balance of retail outlets fight out for the rest of the market. Aussie beer is expensive compared to NZ too, with most of that related to tax.

Who runs Moa?

Geoff Ross, our CEO, with support from Gareth Hughes, our GM. These guys worked together at 42Below, and have been together at Moa since Geoff and some mates, plus another private equity business bought into Moa in 2009. Geoff is very brand, marketing and product focussed, and also has a big workload around investors and compliance as we are a listed company. Gareth is sales, sales, sales. These guys complement each other really well, and Moa’s growth over the last 6 years is thanks to their combined efforts largely.

What’s a Cicerone?

Good question. Josh Scott, our founder, has quite a cool history in craft beer, and last year decided to pursue becoming a Cicerone. It’s basically a professor of beer. Really hard exams, practical tests and a huge knowledge of the brewing process is expected. He was the first Cicerone in NZ and second in Australasia… we are very proud of him.


We are paid to be at it. No, that’s a lie. It costs us a lot, but it’s an outstanding event to showcase what Moa does, and who we are. Breweries are not just the product, but also the people, and how the business conducts itself. We also meet other really enthusiastic brewers and of course, its probably the best way of getting consumer feedback on our product and brand. Last year we had a ball, with punters 3 deep for 3 days, with many laughs and friendships made. So who wouldn’t want to be there again!!

What beer will be be serving?

From our Classic Range:

  • Moa Original Lager
  • Moa Session Pale Ale

From our Estate Range:

  • Moa Methode Pilsner
  • Moa South Pacific IPA
  • Moa Blanc - Wheat Lager

From our Reserve Range:

  • Moa Southern Alps - White IPA
  • Moa St Josephs - Belgian Tripel
  • Moa Five Hop - English Ale
  • Moa Imperial Stout - Oak Aged Stout Ale

From our Special Reserve (limited release) Range:

  • Moa Festive IPA - Red Edition
  • Moa Tripel Sauvignon - Belgian Tripel, 2014 Vintage
  • Moa Cherry Sour - Fruit Lambic, 2013 Vintage
  • Moa Sour Blanc - Belgian Style Lambic, 2012 Vintage
  • Moa Sour Blanc - Belgian Style Lambic, 2013 Vintage
  • Moa Feijoa Sour - 2015 Festival Beer

What’s this about your festival beer?

We will be producing a beer exclusive to the GABS festival - a Feijoa Sour!
Unmistakably Feijoa and sour, this unfiltered Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic was fermented and conditioned in used barrels for 8 months. The fruit (at over 100g per litre) was harvested from Moa Head Brewer David Nicholls' land and added at the start of ferment (no Feijoa skin tannin characters as all fruit was skinned/de-hulled by hand). A wheat beer base wort pitched with David's house blend of yeast and bacteria, including lactobacillus, peddiococci, Brettanomyces and three other yeast strains, two of which were wild yeasts sourced from David's vineyard. A labour of love, for the love of beer.



When we were searching the National Library of New Zealand’s archives for images of people engaged in recognizable and uniquely Kiwi pursuits from an era that also referenced our traditional brewing technique to feature on our new-look 6 and 12-packs we not only found some cool pictures, we also uncovered some cool stories that in some cases were at risk of being forgotten.

For example, the great-grandson of Sammy Turner who made the first ascent of Mt Cook alone in 1919, and claimed the world record for skipping in 1911, was unaware of his great-grandad’s achievements. He now knows his family’s remarkable connection with one of our country’s most iconic mountains because we tracked him down and asked him for his family’s permission to feature Sammy on our new Session Pale Ale 6 and 12-packs. True story.

The whole process got us thinking about how many other stories have been, or are at risk of being, forgotten over time. The stories we uncovered also reminded us that New Zealand is the way it is, and New Zealanders are the way we are, because of those adventurous, innovative, hard-working and determined pioneers who helped shape our country and our unique identity and approach to life.

Given our country’s relatively young history but rapid development, it is easy to forget about the many achievements both big and small that have been accomplished in the short space of time since New Zealand was first inhabited.

So we’re hoping that if we share a few stories of our own and provide a platform for other Kiwis to share their own stories we might just be able to uncover a few more gems and insights into what it means to live in New Zealand and be a New Zealander.

There’s no particular reason for doing this, it’s not a competition or anything. Who knows where it will all end up, but if nothing else it’s a good reminder to share a beer with your family and learn a little bit more about family history.

To read these stories and to share your own visit



Maurice “Mo” Alderslade of North Canterbury and Graeme James of Papamoa were recently contacted by the people at Moa Beer because they wanted to feature Mo’s Dad (also Maurice, now passed) and Graeme’s Great-Grandfather (one remarkable Samuel Turner, now passed) on their new look packaging.  

You can imagine their surprise.

Mo says he is over the moon that his Dad has found his way onto the side of Moa’s South Pacific IPA six-pack.  “He was a good man, my Dad – salt of the earth, honest, and not a bad word was spoken about him. He enjoyed a good beer too, so we couldn’t ask for anything more fitting.  I’m looking forward to sharing a beer with him again,” he says.

Graeme says he was chuffed that his Great-Grandad will feature on Moa’s Session Pale Ale six and 12-packs.  “I didn’t know very much about him, but Mum often talked about ‘Sammy’.  So when Moa rang me out of the blue to say they would like to use a picture of him on some of their new packaging, and told me a little bit more about him, I was blown away,” Graeme says. 

Sammy was almost one of New Zealand’s forgotten heroes.  He completed the first traverse of Mt Cook in 1906, made the first ascent of Mt Cook alone in 1919, and claimed the world record for skipping in 1911.  “It was wonderful to find out that sort of thing about our family, and to now have it recognized in this way is pretty special,” Graeme says.

Jeremy Meech, Moa's Head of Marketing, says the team spent months going through the National Archives looking for images of people engaged in a range of recognizable and uniquely Kiwi pursuits from an era that references their traditional brewing technique.  “We wanted to raise a glass to those inspirational, hard-working, adventurous New Zealanders whose pioneering deeds helped shape our country and our country’s identity.

“Finding these incredible images was just the beginning.  We then had to track down family members to seek their permission, which is another story altogether,” says Meech.

The new look packaging is one of a number changes the Marlborough-based brewery has made to its range. 

The previously limited release Moa Session Pale Ale has been introduced into its full-time range alongside Moa Original Lager in six-pack open basket and 12-pack formats, the popular Moa Southern Alps White IPA (also previously a limited release) is also being introduced into the full time range; the Estate range will now be available in six-pack open baskets (previously enclosed four-packs); and the brewery’s flagship Reserve Range will be now be available in 500ml bottles with crown cap (previously 375ml cork and cage). 

Josh Scott, Founder of Moa, says the changes were driven by trade and consumer feedback, and emerging trends in both local and overseas craft beer markets.  “We need to continue to adapt in order to meet the demands of a more dynamic and rapidly-evolving beer market.  A lot of the changes were designed to make our products more approachable and to help consumers more easily navigate our diverse range. 

“In some cases we’re changing our product names to better reflect the style of beer, and we’re hoping that adding a couple of extra bottles to our Estate range packs may help relieve some of the tension as BBQ weather settles in as there’s more to share with your mates and less of a need to fiercely protect your precious beer”, Scott says cheekily. 

“We’re really excited about bringing Moa Session Pale Ale into the full time range.  Sales of the limited release 12-pack have been fantastic, and the new look packaging should hopefully make it an even more attractive product,” Scott says.

The process of developing the new look packaging has also inspired Moa to seek out some more great Kiwi stories.  

“When we tracked down the families of the subjects in the pictures, what we discovered were some amazing, forgotten stories out there.  It got us thinking about how many other stories like Sammy’s have been - or are at risk of being - forgotten, so we’re launching a campaign to raise a glass to these and other inspiring Kiwis whose stories are worth sharing,” Scott says.

In late-November Moa will launch a nationwide search for some more great Kiwi stories and images out of the family archives. 

Keep an eye out on or for announcements and more details.


L - R: Gareth Hughes (Moa General Manager), Te Radar (MC), David Nicholls (Moa Head Brewer)

L - R: Gareth Hughes (Moa General Manager), Te Radar (MC), David Nicholls (Moa Head Brewer)

Moa enjoyed its best ever showing at this year’s annual Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, picking up a total of 12 awards, including the trophy for the best ‘Cask Conditioned’ beer with Moa Five Hop (Handpull).

Now in its eighth year, the 'Brew NZ Awards' is a truly international competition, with entries from throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world.  All beer entries are rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation.  A beer’s overall balance of characteristics was judged by a panel comprising 25 national and internationally qualified judges. 

 A total of 61 gold, 121 silver and 169 bronze medals were awarded this year.  Moa’s haul consisted of:

  • Trophy - Moa Five Hop (Handpull)

  • Gold - Moa Five Hop (Handpull)

  • Gold - Moa Tripel Savvy 2014

  • Gold - Moa Mulled Spiced Ale

  • Silver - Moa Original

  • Silver - Moa Southern Alps

  • Silver - Moa Five Hop

  • Silver - Moa Cherry Sour 2012

  • Silver -  Moa Apple Cider

  • Bronze - Moa Session Pale Ale

  • Bronze - Moa Sour Blanc 2012

  • Bronze - Moa Kiwifruit Cider


Last week Moa picked up a total of 5 medals at the prestigious Australian International Beer Awards (“AIBA”), the largest competition of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.  Moa was also named as a top three finalist for the title of ‘Champion Medium International Brewery’, narrowly missing out on the honour to Bavaria’s Heller-Bräu Trum KG brewery.

The Moa medal haul consisted of:

  • Moa Original (Lager) – Bronze
  • Moa Methode (Pilsner) – Bronze
  •  Moa Imperial Stout (French Oak Aged Stout Ale) – Bronze
  • Moa The Yardstick (Triple Dry Hopped Imperial Pilsner) – Bronze
  • 99 Not Out SKW Pale Ale (for packaging) – Bronze

This year the AIBA received a record 1,560 entries from more than 294 brewers in 31 countries and a total of 25 Champion and Major Trophies were presented.

Congratulations to Head Brewer David Nicholls and his team on another outstanding showing.


Moa Brewing Company struck Irish gold with the biggest medal haul of any brewery worldwide at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup held over the weekend.  Moa picked up a total of seven medals – one gold, four silvers and two bronze – to beat over 80 other breweries from around the world.  The timing could not have been any better with Moa’s first shipment to Ireland only weeks away from hitting the water.

“It’s great to see our beers continue to feature at the sharp end of beer competitions all over the world, especially given the likes of Anchor Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewing, Flying Dog, Left Hand and other highly regarded American breweries entered beers into these awards”, says Moa Head Brewer, David Nicholls.

“We’re also chuffed to have some other New Zealand breweries sharing in the spoils with Schippers Brewing Company picking up three silvers and a bronze, Invercargill Brewery a bronze, and our good friends down the road, Renaissance, also picking up a silver”, added Moa Founder, Josh Scott.

Danish brewery Coisbo claimed the highly coveted trophy for best beer with their Russian Imperial Stout.

The Moa medal haul includes:


  • Moa Noir (Lager – Styles of European/German Origin)


  • Moa Pale Ale (Ale – New World Style Ale)
  • Moa St Josephs (Ale – Styles of Belgian and French Origin)
  • Moa Southern Alps (Ale Other)
  • Moa Royal (Ale – Other)


  • Moa Five Hop (Ale – Styles of British Origin)
  • Imperial Stout (Other)

The full list of awards can be found here.