A potted history of Invercargill Brewery
What began as a hobby for Steve Nally turned into an all-consuming business that is Invercargill Brewery.
When Steve graduated from Canterbury University with a handy degree in chemistry, his OE took him to Europe where he ended up playing rugby for Epernay in France – on Moet’s home turf.
“At the rugby club the major sponsors were champagne houses so we would drink champagne. That was one of the more surreal parts of my life but it was one of the more defining periods.”
On returning to Invercargill in the mid-90s Steve got a real job in a lab – just briefly mind.
Even then the call of the brew was strong – Steve found himself at weekends touring abandoned orchards to fill a trailer with ground-bruised fruit to try his hand at cider.
Eventually the bug took over. In 1999 Steve leased a disused diary shed in Oteramika Road on the outskirts of the city and set up business, having built most of the plant himself with the aid of his father Gerry.
When, just three years later, beer writer Keith Stewart released his Complete Guide to NZ Beer he described it as “an impressive wee brewery that epitomizes the enterprise and creativity of New Zealand’s next brewing generation.”
Stewart gave Pitch Black a 9/10 on the taste test, and awarded B.man “different but delicious” a 7/10.
Invercargill Brewery’s first brew – IBS – has since been superseded by a popular pale ale called Stanley Green. Lance Corporal Stanley Green was Steve’s maternal grandfather who survived Dunkirk only to die in a training accident in Scotland in 1942.
“I think he was an ordinary man doing something extraordinary” Steve reckoned, and a great inspiration for one of his favourite beers.
In 2005 the brewery outgrew the old blue dairy shed and moved to the former Kiwi Bacon factory at 8 Wood Street in downtown Invercargill.
By 2012 that too had become too small. Staff started each working day by moving equipment onto the footpath. Finally, in December 2013, Invercargill Brewery made the move to 72 Leet Street where the story continues in a beautifully remodelled Wilson Bros Fabrication Shop.
Member of the Master Brewers Association, International Brewers and Distillers and Society of Beer Advocates and winner of the 2014 NZ Brewers Guild Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation.