Sadly, this time all the worthy Malthouse staff were busy and so I got stuck with Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor (at his insistence it must be noted for the record). Here are his answers which have been edited for space and translated into English for the benefit of New Zealand readers. [2]

What is your proper name and job title?

“My name is Colin Mallon and I am the Head of Stuff at Malthouse.”

How long have you been involved in the hospitality industry?

“Dang! This is my silver jubilee year. I started at the tender age of twenty – I was a bartender at a really dodgy American themed rib shack in Glasgow. In terms of my journey, I started on the bar side of a restaurant then moved to the restaurant side of a restaurant, went and ran a bar, ran a restaurant, went and ran another bar, then another bar, then I moved to New Zealand, started in a bar, [3] then a bar/restaurant that happened to have a brewery.”

What did you do before hospitality?

“To be honest, [4] after twenty five years in hospitality I can’t possibly remember what happened back in the mists of time. Some may say I was a hairdresser to the stars – but that would be their opinion.” [5]

What brought you to New Zealand?

“A woman – I met my now wife Louise. She had worked a couple of years in London and was fully over it. She was about to come back to New Zealand, stopped off in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival where I was running a bar called The Southsider – a charming spits and sawdust little place but it did have eight cask beers on and rather a lot of whisky.

I met Lou while I was there and she ended up staying another year in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow. We got married there and then moved to New Zealand.”

How long have you been working at Malty?

“I started work in the Willis Street Malthouse in 2004 until it closed down. Then I came on board as an investor when Malthouse rebooted in 2007.”

Why Malthouse – both as staff and an investor?

“I guess I got my passion for beer working with real ale, cask beer in Edinburgh. When I moved here, my wife told me about this famous bar called Malthouse where her and many of her friends had their 21sts. I knew of its legendary status and when they were advertising for manager positions I think I applied for three different roles in the same email!”

What are the worst things a customer can do in a bar?

“Leave unhappy – don’t get me wrong, there are shocking things that customers can do but there are shocking things that anyone can do. At the end of the day, running a bar is like running a party every day of the week. We are offering an environment that is a home away from home and you want people to have a really good experience. If they don’t leave with that good experience then I don’t think we have done our job.

I also think I just turned that question back to front.”

What are the best and worst things about the bar industry?

“The people you meet – whether that is people you work with, the customers, and the suppliers.

One of the best and worst things about the industry is the informality. People look at our sector and do not see it as a ‘real job’. Some of the skills you can develop are far more diverse than other perceived careers. A number of fantastic operators around the city were bartenders when I first knew them. Still not being taken seriously in a profession is frustrating to say the least.”

What would be your three “desert island beers”?

“Anything from Cantillon. Epic Armageddon would have to up there – I could drink it noon and night. The third would be a beer that I just have to have if I see it on tap. If it was a desert island then it would have to be DB Draught – my dirty secret beer! DB Draught on tap is a thing of beauty, particularly in the provinces. Actually I have another dirty secret beer – Steinlager Classic. If a venue sells Steinlager on tap and they shift a lot of it, drink it.

No, as for my third beer – if I did not have a vested interest in the business it would have Fork Brewing Godzone Beat. Actually, now I have declared it then it could be Godzone Beat or Tainted Love. Tainted Love has got fruit and was made by three breweries coming together from New Zealand, the US and the Canada. It is one of our most requested beers – we cannot make enough of it.” [5]

What are two beers on tap right now that people should try?

“The Pale Ale from Northern Monk which picked up a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup – the first, I think, non-American brewery to pick up a medal in an American Pale Ale category at the cup. The World Beer Cup is entirely different. There are three medals in every category – one gold, one silver and one bronze. You get a bronze medal and that says that beer is the third best beer in that category in the world!

We also held back a keg of Moa Perris Sky Juice, winner of this year’s prestigious West Coast IPA Challenge. That is going to be on tap this week. The hardest thing was keeping you away from it!”

What are your plans going forward?

“I really enjoy the freedom I get from having Ciaran run the day to day operations at the Malthouse. It means I can learn to play golf. That is actually not true because I’ve never picked up a gold club in my life. Really, it lets me look at the big picture at Malty and the Fork, and spend a bit more time working with Fork Brewer Kelly Ryan, particularly in the run-up to the Brewers Guild Awards. There is a wee bit of rivalry between me and Kelly about coming up with silly beer names – a few texts go back and forth at 7am in the morning or 11pm at night. [7]

Cheers Col!

This is a reminder that from 7pm on 8 September 2016 (today!), Malthouse will host the first Yeastie Boys Beer and Music Raffle. From 7pm, DJ Don Luchito from Radio Active will play 24 songs which in some way match one of the eight Yeastie Boys beers on tap. Punters who match the songs to the beers on tap win some “Yeastie Swag”, and a raffle ticket for the big draw which will see some one lucky patron win a pair of Stu McKinlay’s Colourful Yet Awkwardly Tight In Delicate Places Trousers.

Next time, we drink to hail storms in the Wellington spring. All hail the hail, I say!

[1] This process is often longer than the entire interview.

[2] That sentence will determine if Colin really does check these blogs before posting them (as he claims). If I am found tomorrow beaten to death with a haggis, then we will know that he does indeed.

[3] Due to my crazy journalistic skills, I was able to deduce that this is the Malthouse.

[4] For the record, Colin was a hair artiste.

[5] People who are actually going to be honest never use this phrase.

[6] For those counting along at home or work, asked for his three desert island beers, Colin listed at least fourteen beers.

[7] If Colin and Kelly get stuck, I get a frantic call along the lines “we are launching a beer next week and need a great name within the next 37.5 minutes. Help!” #brewjesus


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Beer and Brewer Magazine

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine


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