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Yeastie Boys receive rare invite to real ale festival

Yeastie Boys receive rare invite to real ale festival

Innovative New Zealand brewers – the Yeastie Boys – have received one of only ten worldwide invites to brew at the world’s largest ale festival. The invitation will see them flying to England in late February to brew their offbeat Gunnamatta earl grey India Pale Ale for the JD Wetherspoon’s International Real Ale Festival.

The Yeastie Boys will brew their unique ale, which showcases the floral and citrus notes of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea, at the Adnams Brewery in Southwold, Suffolk. The resulting beer will be served in 850 pubs across England, during two weeks in April, for the annual Wetherspoon’s festival. “Gunnamatta is our biggest selling beer but we’re brewing more of it in a single day there than we brew in an entire year here in New Zealand!” laughed Yeastie Boys’ brewer and Creative Director Stu McKinlay. “It’s a scale of brewing beyond anything we’d dream of and, with more than a million people visiting those pubs during that fortnight, it is undoubtedly the widest exposure we’ve ever received on that side of the world!”

Gunnamatta has developed a cult following in the Pacific Rim since its award winning release at 2012’s Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, where it was named Champion Beer of the festival, and will be making its European debut at the Wetherspoon’s Festival. Despite the attention and awards that the beer has received, McKinlay was still shocked upon receiving the email from the organisers. “I honestly thought the invite was a practical joke from one of my friends – to be flown to England, the home of both beer and tea, to brew our beer at one of my favourite breweries felt like the cliché of selling coal to Newcastle. People call us rock-star brewers and this really does feel like we’ve been invited to Glastonbury!”

To make the trip even more exciting, the Yeastie Boys have been teamed up with a perfect partner brewery once in the UK. “To be teamed up with Adnams Brewery, one of the few true greats of traditional brewing who have relentlessly continued to push boundaries in the modern world, makes it even more of a dream come true” continued McKinlay. “Adnams head brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald, was recently named UK Brewer of the Year and his team is the ideal partner to work through the technical intricacies of brewing such a leftfield beer.”

The Yeastie Boys, who already export more beer than they sell in New Zealand and are looking beyond New Zealand for the majority of their future growth, see the promotion around this trip as a perfect time to coincide with an increase in their production capability through Invercargill Brewery. “We’ve been approached by several distributors in Europe over the last two years but have held off exporting there as we concentrate on the New Zealand, Australia and existing Pacific Rim markets.” said Yeastie Boys’ Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie. "We’re very conscious of growing in a way that suits what we want from this business. Demand for our beer locally has been difficult enough to keep on top of but this trip coincides perfectly with a significant increase in production capability coming online in the first quarter of 2014."

Yeastie Boys also intend to look into the possibilities of contract brewing their regular beers (which also includes Pot Kettle Black and Digital IPA) in the United Kingdom or Belgium, for distribution across Europe, while on this trip.

Gunnamatta, the Yeastie Boys biggest selling beer, was crowned champion beer at 2012’s inaugural Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular and awarded a gold medal at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards 2013. It is available, along with other Yeastie Boys beers, in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.


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