The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Wanaka Beerworks vows to “move on” after spill

WanakaEarly in November, all the taps at Wanaka Beerworks were turned on and 95% of their beer flooded ankle deep into the brewery and neighbouring businesses. Police estimate the damage caused by the 12,000 litre spill at $100,000 to $300,000, while the owners estimate their production has been put back several months.

It was clear from the start that this event was not an accident. The spill occurred in the early hours of the morning and was designed to be devastating. Within days, Police had arrested a man, Kenneth Sugar, who turned out to be the former head brewer. He recently pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary relating to the spill and will be sentenced in February.

The court appearance revealed new details of the case. The brewery had been bought by new owners three months and Sugar had very different ideas on how the business should be run, sending several emails to his employers. A summary of facts reported Sugar failed to attend a disciplinary hearing then resigned. He used a work key to enter the brewery and turn on the release valves to spill the beer.

Owner Ruenell Wing said they had been “blindsided” by events but “we have moved on. We see it as a fresh start and are excited about the future.” Through hard work and help from friends, production is recovering quickly with the result that Wanaka beers, particularly their flagship Brewski pilsner, are returning to selected supermarket shelves.

Several influential beer industry figures have predicted a strong future for Wanaka under the new owners. This means their beers may become a more common sight in supermarkets.

Source: 3 News, Stuff