Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 9, 2010

Immediately below...
  • 52 Weeks
  • New Drinks for Year Two

52 Weeks

Excuse me if, instead of the usual modest tone these messages try to strike, we indulge in a little smugness for once.

It seems just yesterday that a Beervana 2009 patron, visiting our stall and hearing about Hashigo Zake, said "But how are you going to survive?" There has certainly been no end of things we've supposedly done wrong. You'd think that when you take Heineken, bottled water, cheap tequila, jagermeister, hot chips and loud music out of a Wellington bar all that would be left is an empty shell.

But Hashigo Zake has, if anything, been an experiment in answering the kinds of questions that people with little or no hospitality experience idly wonder about. What if we ask the breweries we like, wherever they are in the world, to sell us beer? What if we don't go cap in hand to one of the big breweries? What if we trust customers to understand if we keep rotating the beers? What if we don't take any notice of what anyone says?

We should have been on our knees by January, apparently, and yet, here we are 52 weeks later, doing quite a lot better than just surviving. We've lost count, but we think there have been around 200 different beers through the taps, many of them being offered in a New Zealand bar for the first time. Our turnover has grown steadily over the last twelve months, peaking two weeks ago with Beervana at a level way above our most optimistic projections. We've built a roster of staff that I'm frankly tired of hearing compliments about. Brewers who are starting out or experimenting and looking for an outlet now seem to know that they can contact us and we'll be receptive. And similarly supermarkets and bottle stores are starting to show interest in picking up some of our exclusive imports. And we've created the most exciting range of pies known to man.

So we think we have something to celebrate this week, and this is how we intend to do it.

Tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow evening, there will be a generous supply of tickets being handed out at the door that can be redeemed for a complimentary drink. Keep one side of that ticket because at 8pm we'll draw some numbers out of a hat and the winners will take away some rather special bottles. We even promise not to have emptied them first.

We'll also be making an announcement during the evening that we think is very exciting for Wellington beer lovers.

Many of the drinks we're offering will be courtesy of generous sponsorship from Tuatara, Renaissance, Emersons' and Yeastie Boys.

Note that we are only sending a general invitation and no-one is more welcome than anyone else. If you feel like being part of this, or if you just feel like a Thursday or Friday drink then please come on down.

New Drinks for Year Two

Life carries on after this week and there are some exciting shipments on the water at the moment that should add interest over the next few weeks.

Arriving soon - possibly next week - will be a combined shipment from Scandinavian breweries Nøgne ø (Norway) and Mikkeller (Denmark). The Nøgne ø order is particularly exciting because it not only includes a number of beers that we have never had before, it contains some of the first sake ever brewed in Europe. It also includes a handful of kegs AND new stocks of Tyttebaer - the extraordinary sour fruit beer that won a gold medal at BrewNZ.

The Mikkeller products include a range of Imperial Stouts aged in rum, wine, bourbon, whisky and Islay whisky barrels (because Mikkel didn't think he'd made enough Imperial Stouts) AND several of his experimental series of pale ales made to the same recipe except the yeast used.

Also due very soon is our long promised stock of bottled beers from Quebec breweries - including several from the great Dieu du Ciel.

And Japan's Baird Brewery have announced that they have dispatched no fewer than 18 kegs of beer to us. But knowing what freight from Japan can be like we shouldn't get too excited just yet.

Oh - and.. Three Boys Golden Ale is back from its winter hibernation.


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