“In the next five years craft beer is going to have a 20% share of the entire beer market”
Wellington craft bar owner Hadleigh Petherick believes the craft beer scene is just beginning to take off.
“I honestly think people’s taste in beer is completely changing. Panhead has come from nothing 18 months ago and will be up at Tuatara scale within the next few years. Tuatara has potential to be at Lion or DB scale. There’s a definite opportunity for the market to be spread, rather than being stuck between just three big business. It’s going to be interesting.”
Hadleigh’s Wellington bar and off-licence, Crafters &Co, has been operating for 15 months. It only stocks New Zealand craft beer, and this is where Hadleigh saw a gap in the market.
“We had 20 different breweries on board and a lot of them had talked to me about getting into distribution because there was a big hole in the market. Distributors are often wine or spirit specialists with one or two beer brands on the side. Other distributors know craft beer but they just don’t have the space we have here.”
'Here’ is Crafters & Co.’s new distribution centre and shop, near the top of Cuba Street. The $1 million development covers 1200m2 and Hadleigh has signed a 35-year lease. The store has 21 fill-your-own taps and sells craft beer, wine, spirits and gourmet food direct to the public. The wholesale side of the business supplies bars, restaurants, bottle stores and supermarkets. The web store is under development now.
“I see us all working together. We buy products from Moore Wilson's and hopefully we can sell products to them as well. No matter what you do, you are going to compete with other businesses, but you have to work in with them. We can work in with both of them because we have exclusive rights to sell in Wellington, so we will be able to sell those products to Regional and Moore Wilson's. It’s not about the Crafters & Co business, it’s about the breweries. We’re just the middle man, whether it’s through us to the customer or to a bar.”
And given Hadleigh’s optimistic growth projections, does he think his warehouse is big enough?
“I hope not! We’ve got 300 pallets worth of storage but in a year we will be packed to the roof I hope. If all goes to plan we will be setting up a small warehouse in Auckland and one down in Christchurch and then we can service the whole country.”
Crafters & Co.’s warehouse is at 71 Webb St, Wellington. It's open now, with the official opening on 1 August. www.Craftersand.co