Nine days since a devastating earthquake ripped through the heart of Christchurch. The death toll is in the hundreds and slowly rising. Thousands have been injured and many more have lost their homes or businesses. Even today, many families are living without power and water. The damage is widespread and the fear palpable.

At the same time, the tragedy has again revealed the spirit of Canterbury, the generosity of Kiwis everywhere and the support of our friends from around the world. There are medics from Auckland, rescue teams from Japan, volunteers from Canterbury University, Police from New South Wales and many, many more working shoulder to shoulder on the ground.

Since the moment the initial quake ended and the true extent of the tragedy was apparent, money has been pouring in from the Government, charities, businesses, communities and individual Kiwis. Regional and national leaders have been quick to proclaim that Christchurch will be rebuilt – that is will stand again. Nevertheless, the road to recovery will be long and hard. .

The beer community – brewers, bars, suppliers and retailers – in Christchurch has been hit hard. Thankfully, the industry appears to have suffered no deaths and only a couple of relatively minor injuries have been reported. Plenty of people had close calls with falling masonry, glass and brewing equipment though.

It is clear that some premises have been heavily damaged (including Three Boys, Harrington’s and Cassels) while others are unlikely to open again for a while (including Twisted Hop, Dux de Lux and the Canterbury University Staff Club). In every case, the owners are determined to rebuild and offers of support are already coming in. For example, Stoke Brewery has generously offered to contract brewing facilities to affected brewers.

Since the quake, the major source of information about the impact on the industry in Christchurch has been the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA) website. Secretary Greig McGill collated verified information about people’s safety and building damage from email, Twitter and Facebook and posted regular updates. The site has been updated since the last Malthouse blog and now includes several personal accounts and photos of damage. The link is at the bottom of this post. This was a tremendous resource as people scrambled for information so many thanks to Greig for his tireless work here.

The next step after checking people are safe is to try to provide support. This is where David Cryer, the talismanic head of the Brewer’s Guild of New Zealand stepped in. He is co-ordinating a series of fundraising drinks/charity auctions/raffles around the country to raise money for Canterbury and to show solidarity with the people of that stricken area.

There will be simultaneous events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Dunedin and Blenheim this Friday (4 March) from 5pm with the auctions/raffles generally starting at 7pm. The details of each event are again reported on the SOBA website with the link listed below. I’m honoured to be the MC/auctioneer at the Wellington event which will be held at Bar Edward.

Like many other bars and venues around the country, Malthouse has also been working to raise money for the Red Cross. Last Friday and Saturday, $1 from the sale of every tap beer went to charity with the final total well in excess of $1,000. Malthouse will also be donating a couple ofvouchers to be auctioned at the Wellington fund-raising beer event on Friday and a number of staff are likely to be in attendance as well.

In beer news, a keg of Twisted Hop IPA should be on tap later this week. It is a marvellous beer from a brewery which remarkably appears relatively undamaged, but which remains locked inside the Christchurch cordon. People can show their support for Martin and his team with a pint of this hoppy drop.

Also coming up on tap soon are Emerson’s 1812, Mussel Inn’s Captain Cooker and Golden Goose, Yeastie Boys * Rapture, the delicious Hopwired IPA, Moa Pale Ale for the first time at Malthouse, and the always anticipated Epic Mayhem.

Kia Kaha Christchurch.

* The Yeastie Ones have done some serious Christchurch fund-raising with Beer Store, Beer NZ and Thorndon New World.


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


SOBA – Update on Christchurch –
Fundraising events for Christchurch –
Bar Edward –
Malthouse on Twitter –
Malthouse Facebook Group –
Real Beer –
Beer and Brewer Magazine –