In the last couple of decades, the demand for Kiwi-constructed craft beer has increased dramatically, so much so that the pioneering Sawmill Brewing Company, owned by Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay, have relocated from their cramped holdings off the back of the Sawmill Café into a brand new purpose-built brewery.
Kirsty puts it thus: “The original brewery was established in 2004 on the site of the old 1860 Leigh Sawmill, but we were busting at the seams and decided to move to gain greater capacity and the flexibility to produce a wider range of brews.” The Sawmill Brewery is now located in a nifty rural setting on Leigh Road, just outside Matakana. Unlike many of their urban/industrial-based contemporaries, then, they have an office with a view.
Mike and Kirsty work with a small but dedicated group of talented brewers. Loaded down with awards and medals (nine alone at the 2015 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards), this innovative lot were the first in New Zealand to put their crafty product into cans. Beer with roots, is how they put it.
Matakana, New Zealand