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NZ brews seek to impress in US

Some of Wellington’s leading craft brewers are presenting their beers at a festival in Portland, Oregon, this week in a bid to build their US fan base.

Panhead, Tuatara, Yeastie Boys, Garage Project and Parrot Dog are the featured international brewers at this year’s Oregon Brewers Festival which runs from 22-26 July and is expected to attract over 80,000 craft beer lovers during its run.

As reported by Scoop, with help from “Grow Wellington”, an agency of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, the aim of their visit is to help the brewers build US connections.

The Kiwis are also visiting the festival as part of a “cultural exchange” established by Art Larrance directors of the Oregon festival and David Cryer, former director of the Wellington “Beervana” Festival which five Oregon brewers visited last year.

The brewers will be part of daily “meet the brewer” sessions and last night (21 July) held a trade and press tasting where each introduced their brewery and one of their beers paired with a dish prepared by Sheperd Elliott, head chef of award-winning Wellington restaurant Ti Kouka.

Craft beer is increasingly important in Wellington and has accounted for 40% of overall growth in the food and beverage sector over the last five years.

In 2010 there were just five craft breweries with a an economic output of just NZ$3 million. By 2013 there were 12 and the value of their production had risen to $12.3m and last year the value jumped 80% to $22.3m.

Angela Brownie, general manager for business growth at Grow Wellington, said: “Participating in the festival and associated events provides our brewers with great opportunities to explore export potential in the US market. It’s also a good opportunity to promote New Zealand and Wellington as a destination for craft beer aficionados to visit.”

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