Local craft brewers, Workshop brewing company, sees their two year anniversary this Labour Weekend. Bruno from the team gave us an update on how things have been going so far:
Back in 2013 Matt and Jake were sitting in a brewpub in Tofino and had an epiphany: Raglan needed a craft brewery. Three years later Matt returned to Raglan with the dream to build one and that the ‘Workshop’ next door to Raglan Engineering would be the perfect place.
In addition to Jake, Matt’s team to execute this project included his older brother Stephen, who definitely had the more business brains of the crew, but he also needed a head brewer. When Matt approached me for the role I was pretty hesitant but who could refuse an opportunity like that!? Four years on and guided by some very clever and knowledgeable people (none more so than Matt’s dad Peter Williams) our brewery was built.
I vividly remember the evening before we brewed our first commercial batch in October 2019. We were sitting in the brewery sharing a quiet beer and I looked around at the culmination of all the hard work we had put in and realised the dream was suddenly about to become a reality. By the end of the following day we had successfully brewed our first big batch of beer and with it Workshop Brewing Company was born.
On Labour weekend the same year we released our first three beers; ‘Our Lager’, ‘Raglan Pale Ale’ and ‘Chop Hop’, and then in December 2020 we were granted our off-licence enabling the public to come and sample our beers and to use our refillery.
It’s been an amazing journey so far. Running a brewery is such an incredibly dynamic and fulfilling environment. From deliveries and label design, to fermenting multiple 2000L batches of beer. At the core of it all is to make sure we make the best beer we possibly can.
One of the most rewarding aspects of running a brewery is interacting with our customers. Whether dropping off kegs to establishments around town, just having a casual yarn with regular customers, or conversing with people from out of town, it’s always enjoyable. For those of you who have visited us in the last 9 months or so you’ll no doubt be familiar with a relatively new member to the Workshop family; our Welsh-Samoan-Kiwi duty manager, Glyn ‘G dog’ MacDiarmid. If not, drop in, discuss nail art and you’ll get the sensory low-down on any beer on offer.
The last couple of years have been challenging, especially for small fledgling businesses like ours; but on the flip side, lockdowns have given us the time to think differently and consider how we can be more agile to changing conditions. Ultimately though we are particularly lucky to be living in a town that really supports local producers so big ups to the establishments and good people of Raglan for your support.
As usual we have quite a few plans in the pipeline but first up will be the Raglan Arts Weekend which just happens to coincide with our two-year anniversary. We are very excited to be hosting the Acid Mince crew and Sim here in the brewery where they will be showcasing their work. Meanwhile, we will also be pouring beers and ciders made from locally hand picked & harvested fruit down at the Old School Arts Centre alongside the Little Food Festival.
Hope to see you there!
Little Food Fest & Workshop Brewing bar open
10:00am – 3:00 pm Sat & Sun 23rd, 24th Oct.