Tasman Leader : September 19th 2013
5 THE TASMAN LEADER, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 NEWS Brew brood: Nicki and Simon Nicholas with daughter Lily, 2, who have just opened Hop Federation brewery in Riwaka, on the site of the former Monkey Wizard brewery. Photo: ALASTAIR PAULIN Couple brew a better life By ALASTAIR PAULIN An Auckland couple who have bought the Monkey Wizard brewery and just reopened it as Hop Federation brewery say they are brewing a better life in Riwaka . Simon and Nicki Nicholas, along with two-year-old daughter Lily, moved to Motueka in August and on Saturday, they had the soft opening of the new brewery. For now, they are selling off some of what remains of Monkey Wizard beers as they free up tank space. Simon has spent the past two years as assistant brewer at Auck- land brewery Hallertau. Before that he spent 10 years with Auckland-based liquor chain Glengarry Wines where he worked his way up to operations manager. He is keen to sell his own beer soon, starting with a golden ale made from Motueka hops. He aims to have his own beers available by Christmas with a pale ale, an American amber ale and possibly a German style black lager in the works. His future dreams include experi- menting with sour and barrel-aged beers. We really want to get ourselves stuck into the community and show- case all the great hops from the region that are grown all around us, Simon said. We re going to start bottling 500ml bottles hopefully around November/December and we ll start doing kegs for various bars in the area; we want to have our beer avail- able to everyone around New Zea- land. That should take a good 18 months and I guess more investment to get bigger tanks but in the mean- time if we can get the local bars and off-licences with our kegs and bottles we ll be pretty happy, and really get ourselves established. We ve got a bit of work ahead of us. The couple said the birth of their daughter spurred them to take the leap into running their own busi- ness. Nicki said: When Lily was born Simon was working long hours, bat- tling the traffic, getting home just before Lily went to bed. He thought, this isn t right! He gave up at his job with Glengarry Wines and said, If I m going to be away from Lily I need to do something that I m really passion- ate about . That s when he started brewing at Hallertau. It meant that he worked locally and could nip home, or we can drop in for a coffee to see him. Or he could adjust his hours -- start work at 6am and come home at 3pm, that type of thing. UK-born Nicki was the regional recruitment manager for the three Auckland district health boards. She will be handling Hop Feder- ation s paperwork and will be front of house in the shop and tasting room. She joked that she would have to remember how to pour a beer to run the front-of-house of the boutique brewery. The couple met working in pubs in the UK when Mr Nicholas was on his OE. Hop Federation brewery is open from 11am till 6pm Wednesday through Sunday, and from November 1 will be open seven days a week.
September 12th 2013
September 26th 2013