Although New Zealand now has a multitude of craft breweries producing some excellent and interesting brews, we at Renaissance Brewing Company have on occasion quietly fancied ourselves as one of the top dogs (what brewer hasn’t upon first taste of a successful new brew?). And we are pleased to announce that we are now the proud holders of a shiny new trophy to support our fantasy. Yours truly were named New Zealand Champion Brewery at the 2013 Brewers Guild of New Zealand / Craftology Awards held in Wellington late last year.
The Brewers Guild of New Zealand is the brewing industry’s representative body, and the Brewers Guild Awards is a highly esteemed competition, so we are stoked. The 2013 awards had over 540 entries from 60 New Zealand breweries and several international breweries, which provided a great opportunity to benchmark our beers against those of other national and international craft brewers. We not only picked up the Champion Brewery trophy, sponsored by Dish Magazine, but the Leading Label British Ale Styles trophy for our Tribute Barley Wine and the Beer & Brewer Wheat & Other Grain Styles trophy for our Enlightenment Black the RIPA. Plus gold, silver and bronze medals for Enlightenment Age of Raisin, Stonecutter and Elemental respectively – good shit!
The awards dinner was a glitzy affair hosted by Te Radar, requiring us Renaissance boys to swap our usual attire of steel caps and grubby t-shirts for shirts and ties (and a kilt in Andy’s case). The awards were held during the Beervana festival in Wellington, so it was a huge weekend in the Big Smoke for us small town boys. Needless to say we were all on a high after the awards dinner and hit the town to celebrate (in)appropriately. We may not have multi-millions in offshore bank accounts but with a trophy under each arm and medals around our necks we felt qualified to party Wolf of Wall Street style.
2013 was a fantastic year for us, also winning two trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards including Champion Small International Brewery. Having bling on our bottles is not only great kudos for us, but gives consumers the confidence to try our new styles. We are especially pleased with the success of our Enlightenment range, which allows us to put on our mad scientist or artist hats and do some creative experimentation. Our assistant brewer Matt’s idea of using rye in a black hoppy IPA paid off with the trophy for Enlightenment Black the RIPA and we are committed to continuing the revolution (look out for a Funky Pale Ale and a Fresh Hop IPA in the first few months of 2014) and helping push New Zealand craft beer and hops to the forefront of the brewing world. We’re looking forward to what 2014 will bring.