“In 1980 there were only 3 Craft Breweries in New Zealand. In 2011 there were over 50, trending much #craftbeer!”
MarchFest goes mainstream
Every year a selection of craft breweries from around the country produce a ‘never tasted before’ brew to debut at MarchFest, Nelson’s annual hip hop harvest festival. Part of the excitement for festival-goers is the opportunity to be one of the first to taste these new, and often experimental brews. Some of these brews however, have manage to escape the boutique festival environment of MarchFest and make it into mainstream production becoming part of their brewery’s core selection.
This special club of MarchFest brews that have made it into mainstream production includes; Hop Federation IPA Rakau, Moa’s Mussel Stout, and Dale’s ESB. There’s also Townshend's Henley's Revenge a real ale, that has also been bottled by the brewery, as well as Totara Ninkasi Green, a green-hopped ale.
Hop Federation created their first brew for MarchFest 2014, after setting up their boutique brewery in Riwaka one year earlier. Nicki Nicholas of Hop Federations said, ‘Being the newcomers we didn't really know what to expect; so the fact that people enjoyed it and continued asking for it after the festival was a good indication to us that the beer was good enough to be brewed on a regular basis. We have subsequently made the Rakau IPA part of our core range. It’s now available in kegs and 500ml bottles, on and off premise all over NZ.’
Nicholas also comments on MarchFest as incubator for experimental new brews, ‘Marchfest is an excellent platform to launch new or experimental beers, because you are only brewing a small batch. Therefore there is a minimal cost associated with creating the beer in terms of investment in marketing, branding etc.’
THE EVENT Marchfest is Nelson and New Zealand's craft beer and music flavoured festival - a celebration of music, food, fun and of course, proper beer. Set in the beautiful, traffic-free environment of Founders Heritage Park, Nelson. The 8th MarchFest will take place on Saturday March 21st, 2015.
The Nelson region is New Zealand’s sole hop growing area – and has more craft breweries per head of the population than anywhere else in the country. Unlike ordinary beer festivals, all the beers at MarchFest have been specially commissioned for the event and have never previously been tasted by the public. And unlike other beer festivals, MarchFest is not just about beer. It’s also about local wines, ciders and juices,regional cuisine (including a beer and food matching lunch) as well as its ‘event genre mash-up’ insistence on being a craft beer festival, an indie/world music gig, a hops showcase, an educational forum for home/wannabe brewers and a family-friendly day out. A winning combination that attracts thousands of people each year.
MarchFest has received sponsorship funding for this year's event from the Nelson Events Marketing & Development Programme, which is funded by the Nelson City Council. The Programme's objective is to stimulate Nelson City's economy in the shoulder and off seasons by bringing new spending through visitors coming to Nelson for distinct events.