The owners and staff at the Sawmill Brewery in Matakana are celebrating after taking out a top award in a prestigious national competition.
The brewery won a gold medal for its Sawmill Pilsner at this year’s New World Beer and Cider Awards.
Not only does winning gold give the business more credibility in the industry, it should also prove lucrative in opening doors to extra sales.
“It’s fantastic to get the gold medal and our whole team is thrilled. We got six medals overall,” says Kirsty McKay, co-owner of the brewery with her long-term partner Mike Sutherland.
Other local gold medal winners were the Two Point Five Cider, from Zeffer based in Silverdale, and Tropical Cyclone Double, by McLeod’s of Waipu.
Kirsty describes securing the win for the Pilsner as a “great coup” because it is brewery’s flagship beer.
“The Pilsner makes up nearly half of the beer we make and always remains a hit. After winning this award, we feel it’s time to put our foot down and really go for it. We can do so much here at our new site. With the space we have, we have triple the capacity we did a year ago.”
Brewery manager Sam Williamson says the award will help the business gain wider distribution through Foodstuffs’ chain, so there’s not only credibility for the brewery but also monetary benefits.
“We also received a silver for our pale ale, which is an easy-drinking beer, and our dopplebock called The Doctor.”
Sam was also a judge at this year’s awards, putting his taste buds to the test on various beers and ciders.
“It’s really good for my professional development and to experience so many flavours,” he says. “There might have been 12 or 13 brewers judging and to be one of them was pretty lucky.”
The judges at the awards were impressed by the Sawmill Brewery’s focus on balance and drinkability.
“Its Pilsner is slightly sweet over bitter with a honey and cereal grain character underpinning a classic Kiwi hop combo of Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin,” they said.
More than 500 beers and ciders were entered by 81 local and international breweries. The entries were blind-judged by 19 experts based on technical excellence, balance, mouth-feel and drinkability.