Article – BusinessDesk
March 9 (BusinessDesk) – Its iconic buildings may be in ruins, its central business district shut for the foreseeable future, and its residents still in shock, but there is one small ray of amber light for Christchurch: its craft breweries are largely …
A ray of amber light for Christchurch
By Pattrick Smellie
March 9 (BusinessDesk) – Its iconic buildings may be in ruins, its central business district shut for the foreseeable future, and its residents still in shock, but there is one small ray of amber light for Christchurch: its craft breweries are largely intact.
Despite rumours sweeping North Island liquor outlets that the Three Boys brewery, which was badly damaged in both the Sept. 4 and Feb. 22 quakes, would never reopen, owner Ralph Bungard says nothing could be further from the truth.
“We will reopen,” he told BusinessDesk, in news that will be welcomed by discerning devotees of the company’s Indian Pale Ale, although news of the loss of 4,000 litres of its hoppy Pils blend when a fermenter toppled will have some crying into their beer.
“We had a lot of damage at the brewery, so we’re struggling a bit to get things back together,” said Bungard. “But we might be brewing again in the next few weeks. It’s only equipment and that’s what insurance is for.”
Staff were unharmed, although Bungard himself was in the brewery when the Feb. 22 shake hit.
Crucial to Three Boys recovery, he says, has been the fact that its operations were across three sites: the brewery in Woolston, which was in the midst of the worst-hit areas, while bottling and distribution were both taken care of at other sites by contract workforces.
“Diversification across several sites had been great for us.”
Not so cheery is news for the Twisted Hop brewbar, in central Christchurch. While its building is still standing, those around it have sustained serious damage and it is in the central business district and off-limits to both staff and customers.
All staff are safe, but the operation is closed until further notice. “We do not know what the future holds for the Hop, nor indeed for the central city,” the brewer’s website says.
Local brewers Harrington’s also report major damage to their Ferrymead brewery, but continue to operate, while the Wigram Brewing Company was barely touched and another local brewer, Matson’s, was “not too badly damaged.”