Beervana Road to Beervana


Where did time go??! Auckland brewery, Deep Creek, is turning 10 this year - and to celebrate, it has snagged the coveted number one stall spot on the Beervana concourse! Which means you’ll be starting the party with them when you stroll into Sky Stadium on 13-14 August.

We chatted to Deep Creek’s Brand Representative, Scott Taylor, about the brewery’s plans to celebrate it’s milestone 10th birthday at Beervana in 2021 at Stall Tahi (spot of surfing, anyone?), as well as looking back on the brewery’s very first Beervana, its early days as a small brewpub in Brown’s Bay, and Scott’s former life as a model in the 90s (which has nothing to do with Deep Creek’s 10th birthday, but since we’re doing a retrospective, why the hell not?). 




Deep Creek will be celebrating your 10th birthday this year at Beervana! Jeez, doesn’t time fly? I suppose that’s a good enough reason to snag the Number 1 stall posse on the Beervana concourse?

It is! We had a lot of different ideas and this was the first year we’ve been in the position for the number one stand, so we wanted to make a bit of a splash, make it big and fun! Something that people wanted to just come and hang out at.

Our brewery tagline is “for the adventure”, so we’ve gone with a bit of an outdoorsy, beach fiesta theme. We were looking at a saloon bar and all sorts of crazy things like that.

We’ve got a massive garden bar with a festoons and lights, palm trees, and a bar you can also sit around. There’ll be a huge screen with all sorts of adventure activities that resonate with our brewery ideals, and a few other little fun things. Picture that subtropical Auckland weather crossed with a Bali beach party vibe!

 

Go on, Scotty. We heard a rumour about surfboard simulations in the style of a mechanical bull. Can you confirm or deny, please?

Uh…. yes. It was supposed to be a bit of a surprise, but y’know - it’s a bit of fun, a bit of adventure that everyone can get behind!

We’ll also have a Kombi van, which we’re turning into a photobooth, so people can just jump on in and get a pic for some Beervana and Deep Creek posterity!

 

So a celebratory birthday calls for some celebratory festival Beervana beers?

Yeah, what with turning 10 this year - our birthday is on 5 August, a week before Beervana - we’re doing a mix four pack of all-time favourite Deep Creek beers from the past 10 years, as voted by the public. We created an online poll, and narrowed down our final four that way. We started brewing them last week, and these will be all released at Beervana before they go out into the market.

At this stage, we’re keeping the beers on the down low, but I’m fairly certain some fans will be able to guess what they’re going to be. The public voted on the top three, and the fourth is the brewer’s choice. But the brewer’s choice just happened to be voted fourth anyway! Keep tuned on social media - we’re doing a bit of a countdown to the reveal.

All up, we’re releasing six beers, some being the old favourites. We have 14 taps all up; not sure if we’ll double up some of them, but we can have up to that many beers. [Laughs nervously.]   We may have a few of our core range too.

We’re also looking at bringing cases and doing bottle pours of our Wildwood beers. One of these,  Sauvage, was a champion beer at the Australian International Beer Awards [AIBAs], which is a barrel-age brett Saison. It won Champion Barrel Age, and won Champion International Beer. We’ll also have Framboise Noire in bottle - a dark raspberry barrel-aged sour. The dark chocolate and raspberry flavour profile go really well together.

 

Sounds like the makings of a good milestone birthday celebration. Do you remember Deep Creek’s first Beervana?

I was there for our first one! At our very first one, we just sent a few kegs down, because we were pretty small back then. The beers poured on a stand that was featuring new and young breweries. The actual first one we did as a stand ourselves was very small - we had three or four beers on. I can’t really remember what beers we had... Probably just a Pale Ale or something like that! I wanna say that was 2013 or 2014. It’s a bit fuzzy.

 

Has Beervana changed much between then and now?

Oh, massively! This was when it was pretty new to the stadium. It was still owned by David Cryer [of Cryer Malt]. It only went a short way around, so you walked in the front door, and only went a few hundred metres around before you came to the finish. It wasn’t until years later when Beth [Brash, Visa Wellington On a Plate Programme Manager and former Beervana Festival Manager] took over, she had the idea to take it all the way around. But we did a few in that smaller space.

I’m not sure if it was that first year or the year after that a small brewery by the name of Panhead was right beside us. We enjoyed a few of their beers and were like, “Wow, they’re good!”. You never know what's going to happen with these tiny little breweries that are popping up!

 



What has been one of the biggest metamorphoses for Deep Creek over the last 10 years?

It’s kind of crazy we’re turning 10. That’s a bit mad. When we first started we were a little brew pub in Browns Bay. We brewed beer right behind the bar.

Founders and original brewers, Jarred MacLachlan and Paul Brown, started brewing in their garage in Browns Bay, won a few home brewing awards, then thought, “Let’s give this a go”, and set up the pub. Deep Creek just doesn't exist without them. I met them at that time.  I’d be running the pub all day, close up, and then Jarred and Paul would come in around midnight and brew through the night. When they left, I’d come in and sell the beer all over again. Our Head Brewer, Hamish Ward, came on board early on in the Deep Creek days as well, about a year or so in, and really helped with turning some of our beers around.

Back then our model was to push our beer through our own bars rather than fighting for tap space at other bars. It was about two years later that we decided to open up a production brewery because we couldn’t keep up with the demand in the brew pub.

If you fast-forward 10 years, we no longer own any bars - it’s no longer our model. And we’re now about to buy a new brew house which is going to have a 4800L brew kit, which is a massive step up. Our current one is only 2000L, and that was a big step up from 1000L, which is what we were doing in our brewpub days.

Our growth and where we’re selling beer is probably the biggest thing for me, having been there since day one! To go from that pub to shipping beers to 16 countries around the world and winning champion brewery at the AIBAs - twice [mumbles] almost three times [laughs], is pretty incredible.

 

And what’s been the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry in the last 10 years?

That’s a big conversation! Number one is the number of breweries. When we first started, there might’ve been 50-60 breweries in the country? And we thought we were late to the party even then! And now - what is there? - 250 plus?

And the industry has grown with that. The number of taps and shelf space in retail has grown with that. Now craft is seen as the other option to mainstream beers instead of international boutique beers or green bottle lagers. That “support local” philosophy has really come into it as well, with people looking to local and regional craft breweries. It was always a grassroots movement of people rebelling against what big beer told them what beer and its flavour profile should be. We as a brewery are lucky to have been a part of that at the time we did.

Of course, there’s also the different styles. When we were first brewing, IPAs were the hero. They were a lot maltier using lots of crystal malt. Now they’re a lot cleaner. And then, obviously, the hazy trend, sours and beers with just a tonne of different adjuncts! So much has changed, but it's an amazing industry to be part of.

 


 

Speaking of looking to the past, Scotty - whenever your name crops up in industry circles, they reference your professional modeling days [yes, Scott was a professional model in the heady 90s era]. Rumours of long, luscious locks and a Milli Vanilli outfit (also referred to as your “Milli Vanilla” phase). Will you be resurrecting this look for Deep Creek’s 10th birthday? Because it wouldn’t go unappreciated.

Ahhhhh… I don’t fit any of those outfits anymore. I’ve had too much beer! And my hair’s gone a lot more southward. It’s all just growing on my face now.

 

 

Beervana, New Zealand’s premiere celebration of good beer is on 13-14 August at Wellington’s Sky Stadium. Grab your tickets before it’s sold out!

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