Just as we celebrate birthday milestones by perusing through old and embarrassing photos of ourselves, Mac’s Brewery is likewise harking back to the past as it gets set to celebrate its 30th birthday in November with a touch of 80s.
Known for its seasonal releases, including the 2010 Brewjolais, plans are well afoot to release a special new seasonal 30th birthday brew and further celebrations have been planned to take place throughout November, including food and drinks specials at Brewbars and Mac’s giveaways. All eight Brewbars will also be celebrating together, in retro 80s-style. Sadly the Viking-era looking original Mac’s bottles (left) won’t be making a resurgence as part of celebrations.
The Mac’s story began in 1981 when farmer and former All Black Terry McCashin started a microbrewery in the former Rochdale Cider factory in Nelson. In 1982, Mac’s Real Ale and Black Mac became the first commercially available beers and almost 20 years later in 1999, Lion Breweries brought out the Mac’s brand and the range now includes ciders, non-alcoholic drinks and brews like Sassy Red and Hop Rocker (the McCashins are back, however, and released the Stoke range late last year).
“We’ve used our long-running expertise to craft a stable of innovative brews that are truly distinctive, but have also been able to reach the wider public,” says Alastair Clements, a long-standing brewer of Mac’s.
“That’s something we’ve very proud of. At the end of the day, it’s not about us, it’s about the liquid and we’re happy to celebrate 30 years of brewing amazing beer.”
Not content with simply having the beer brand, in October 2006 Wellington’s Shed 22’s brewpub, The Brewery Bar and Restaurant, was refurbished and became the first Mac’s Brewbar. Since then eight Mac’s Brewbars have popped up in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Last year Mac’s announced it was closing the Wellington brewery, keeping only the adjoining Mac’s Brew Bar and opting instead to shift production to Christchurch.
This year agency Shine gave the packaging a makeover, which included descriptions of character, taste, and what makes each beer tick, surrounding the labels and boxes.