Brewers: You can lease beer kegs…in New Zealand anyway

on 08/02/11 at 11:32 am

Beer

An enterprising Christchurch man is offering the boutique beer industry a whole new lease on kegs – literally.

Print representative Andrew Sharpe is a huge fan of craft beer, and well known in the industry as the man behind many of New Zealand’s leading beer labels.

“The boutique beer industry in New Zealand is quite seductive, the more you hang out with brewers, the more you tend to hang out with brewers,” he said.

Dabbling with home-brewed beer and cider had taught Andrew a lot. Mostly, humility about his own skills.

“I’m never going to be a brewer, but I do enjoy being part of this industry, so when Steve Nally from Invercargill Brewery ran short of kegs I thought this may be an opportunity.”

As it turned out, Invercargill Brewery was not the only micro whose growth was constrained by a lack of kegs, with breweries around the country faced with the choice of buying kegs, or doing without.

After a year researching demand, Mr Sharpe and his wife Amanda bit the bullet, setting up Keg Co NZ and importing a mixed shipment of 50 and 30 litre kegs from Israel.

“It landed quite literally two weeks before Christmas – and we already had clients screaming out for kegs so it was all a bit shambolic,” Mr Sharpe said.

The keg hire company supports not just micro-breweries but the growing number of virtual breweries – those who own no plant or equipment but instead contract to get beer made to their specifications.

“Many businesses are struggling, particularly in the current financial climate, to find money for capital expenditure – where-as a lease means they can just pay as they go. Kegs are immediately available, and if they become surplus they can be sent back,” he said.

Breweries have not been slow to see the benefits, with quarter of the shipment snapped up already.

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