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.