The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Industry Insights: Brewers Guild recognises achievement


Martin Craig.

Each year the Brewers Guild awards a special trophy to one of the industry’s pioneers.

The Morton Coutts Trophy, sponsored by DB Breweries, is a prestigious award recognising outstanding innovation and achievement in the New Zealand brewing industry.

The Trophy’s namesake was a true innovator recognised here and overseas. Morton Coutts OBE was a New Zealand inventor who revolutionised the science of brewing beer. He developed continuous fermentation, made New Zealand’s first television broadcast, and died in 2004 aged 100. Morton was a third-generation brewer – his grandfather Frederick Kühtze emigrated from Germany and established Waitemata Brewery.

Last year’s winner, John Harrington, is a Canterbury craft beer pioneer. John took up brewing in 1991. It’s his third career – he left school at 15 to operate the family’s grocery delivery business on the West Coast. His second career started in 1971 as a publican and pub owner in Christchurch. John and wife Valerie were so successful that John was able to retire in his early 40s. He got bored and started brewing as a retirement hobby.

Apart from building and running a successful family-run brewery, John was also honoured for the mentoring and support he’s given to other brewers. Today the business he founded is one of the biggest craft brewers in the country, having won the coveted Brewers Guild’s Champion Brewery award in 2012 and restructuring after some pretty harsh earthquake damage.

The 2015 Trophy went to another Canterbury family business, Gladfield Malt. The win followed five generations as barley growers, 11 years as maltsters, major investment in new equipment, and a programme to develop and produce new malt varieties.

And 2014 recognised Invercargill Brewery’s Steve Nally for developing beer bladders that allow brewers to replicate the traditional cask beer experience. Previous winners also include Doug and Jim Banks, twins who worked with Morton Coutts at DB.

The 2017 Morton Coutts Trophy winner will be announced at the Brewers Guild Awards on Saturday, 7 October. For more information, visit

Martin Craig is a beer writer, journalist and publisher of www.Beertown.NZ