New Zealand’s beverage industry is booming. Though its wine has been rightly lauded for decades, the nation’s beer and spirits have since caught up to be among the world’s best. Maybe it’s all that access to unfettered nature, but with producers from snow-capped mountains to ancient forests, one thing that sets New Zealand’s industry apart is Kaitiakitanga - a Māori concept of care and responsibility for the land.
With summer just looming over the horizon, now’s the time to be exploring what New Zealand drinks you can easily acquire locally. Here’s five to keep an eye on.
Little Biddy Gin – Classic
Patsy Bass moved to rainy Reefton on New Zealand’s west coast to help rejuvenate the town and, in her words, “make the rain sexy”. With Reefton Distilling Co. she’s done just that, creating an employer, tourist attraction and - most of all - incredible spirits. Little Biddy Classic gin has warm resin and spicy citrus notes, with botanicals like tarata, the astringent horopito herb, and Douglas fir. According to Bass, the gin goes best with Indian tonic and a slice of green apple.
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Giesen 0% Pinot Gris and 0% Rosé
Marlborough put New Zealand wine on the map and its names don’t come much bigger than Giesen. And though Marlborough’s unique, fruit-forward expression of sauvignon blanc gets the headlines, there’s plenty more to explore throughout New Zealand. These 0% alcohol wines - a pinot gris and rosé – from the 40-year-old winery are every bit as flavoursome as their alcoholic counterparts. The gris has classic apple and pear characters while the rosé has subtle aromas of strawberry and white peach. Both are rounded out by just a touch of sweetness.
New Zealand’s first Māori-owned winery, Tohu flies the flag for sustainably-minded wine across a number of up-and-coming subregions. The sauvignon blanc comes from Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, owing its crisp acidity and punchy fruit flavours to hot days, cold nights and low rainfall, while the Awatere-grown pinot gris balances crisp golden apple and pear flavours with a subtle sweetness.
Simon and Nicki Nicholas gave up the bustling Auckland life in 2013 to get out amongst the hop-growers in rural Riwaka. Hop Federation is their brewery – Simon is the head brewer and tends to favour the flavours of homegrown hops. Keep an eye out for their pale with its blend of four hops (Pacific Jade, Riwaka, NZ Cascade and Nelson Sauvin) and the citrusy New Zealand-style pilsner.
Invivo & Co
Since launching Invivo & Co in 2008, founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron have made a strong impression. Their style is intentionally untraditional, from crowd-funded equity to celebrity-branded wines. Their collabs with Sarah Jessica Parker (a Marlborough sauvignon blanc and a French rosé) and Graham Norton (everything from shiraz to gin) are dinner party fun, but their Invivo range is more straight down the line. There’s a Marlborough sauvignon blanc and pinot gris, and a pinot noir from Central Otago that’s just landed bursting with fruit.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Made with Care New Zealand.