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Harrington’s Breweries… The story thus far

New Zealand was a tough place for beer drinkers in the 1980s. Overpriced brown ales dominated the market and the big breweries had a duopoly that meant choice was just something Kiwis said to one another.

Weizenbock-09In 1991 John Harrington said “enough” and set up his own brewery to provide real beer at a price that was agreeable to the hard working folk of New Zealand. Luckily there were plenty of good Kiwi men and women who liked the proposition of drinking beer with flavour.

The beer was different because it was brewed according to the German purity law which dictated ingredients; other beer on the market followed the Accountant’s purity law which stated that all beer should be the same to ensure good margins.

As the brewery grew, John and his brewer began experimenting with traditional styles of beer that were less available in New Zealand. Twenty years later, this has grown to a range of over 30 beers, including the recently released Brewers’ Selection which has been winning awards up and down the country, and abroad.

2012-Champion-Brewery-LogoIn 2012, Harrington’s Brewery was winner of the Brewer’s Guild Grand Champion New Zealand Brewery award – a testament to the skill and craft of Harrington’s hard working brewers. The award was nice after a tough few years following Christchurch’s earthquakes, which saw one of their buildings destroyed.

But some good came out of the rubble. It gave John and his resilient brewing team the chance to bring all the parts of the business together under one roof. Over twenty years, the business had grown organically, just like
the beer. A new building being built in Wigram and set to open in March (2014) means a fresh start for what’s now an old Christchurch brewery.

Harrington’s beer can now be found all over the world. Not bad for a stubborn little idea dreamed up while delivering sustenance to the West Coast’s mining families. If you pop down to the brewery some time John or one of his family will be around somewhere, keeping an eye on things and making sure the beer is bloody good.


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