The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Sustainable brewery opens in Christchurch

New Zealand’s largest alcohol beverage company, Lion, is set to revive its presence in Christchurch with the opening of The Fermentist – a brewery, taproom, and café with a higher purpose.

The Fermentist, located in Sydenham, looks at its place in the world a bit differently – it has beer at its roots and sustainability in its heart. The new establishment wants to make sure the brewery creates a positive legacy by integrating environmentally conscious initiatives throughout, with a focus on ‘good’ beer, food and community.

Running a brewery can require a lot of natural resources such as energy and water. The Fermentist has introduced, and will continuously optimise, sustainable practices to make the invisible, visible when it comes to brewing, experimenting with the way the brewery operates and extending this approach to the taproom and café as well.

Initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint include solar panels for a proportion of electricity usage and hot water heating, composting, waste minimisation, rain water harvesting, and recycling to reduce and limit waste going to landfill. Staff wear uniforms from Little Yellow Bird and ethical products, such as Smartass toilet paper have been sourced. The Fermentist also have an electric hybrid car for deliveries.

Simon Taylor, General Manager Microbreweries for Lion, says: “Lion is about championing sociability and living well – we put huge emphasis on keeping people and the environment at the heart of our business decisions. Building The Fermentist from the ground up has given us the chance to create a more conscious, community focused brand that will be used as a platform to experiment, share knowledge and, most importantly create positive change.”

Living up to its name, The Fermentist offers its own signature beers and cider brewed onsite. Encouraging exploration and discovery in fermentation – The Fermentist Berliner Weisse is served with or without a shot of blackcurrant syrup, there’s also a Kiwi Pale Ale (late and dry hopped with NZ hops), Red Ale (more American style than English style – with an emphasis on aroma hops), and Dry Cider on tap in the bar.

A standout experience at The Fermentist is its unique approach to food, with a menu that supports well-being and is focused on plant based, locally sourced fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi made in the kitchen. Herbs and vegetables are harvested directly from garden beds onsite.

The Fermentist aims to support local wherever they can, working with a steadily growing pool of ethical suppliers to showcase the great produce and products right on our door step. The Fermentist team are also passionate about community outreach, working with Conservation Volunteers NZ on a project focused on Addington Brook, a springfed tributary for the Avon River.

On their Sydenham location, Kirsten Taylor, The Fermentist Head Brewer says “Sydenham is an area that is being regenerated, so there are some great, innovative spaces being developed from retail to residential. It also has a really strong community feel – we enjoy coming together with like-minded businesses to support each other and strengthen the area.”

For Lion, The Fermentist will act as a testing ground and blueprint for the rest of the organisation. The intention is that any learnings generated at The Fermentist will influence the wider business.