The crew at New Zealand’s first nationwide craft beer tour operation, Brewbus NZ, say the Southern Lakes is their happy place and their daily tours of craft brewing ventures reinforce that.
“We launched in Queenstown and Wanaka just over a year ago and it’s been a very exciting part of our journey,” says Brewbus NZ director, Katy Martley. “Visitors aboard the Brewbus have absolutely loved experiencing the emerging craft beer scene locally and meeting the brewers to hear all their stories and backgrounds.”
Katy, a former lawyer and her journalist business partner Lavina Good, founded Brewbus NZ in 2017 after they met while undertaking volunteer work in Tauranga for a food rescue service and a youth trust. After hosting a successful charity lunch together and raising $100,000 they realised their combined skills were ideal for a business partnership, which led to the launch of Brewbus NZ.
“ We identified a gap in the market for a venture that involved the emerging world of beer tourism,” says Katy. “The idea was to create an experience that would introduce the world to New Zealand’s unique beer scene led by passionate people brewing quality beer.”
In Queenstown and Wanaka the Brewbus has collaborated with local breweries for a variety of daily tastings that include a tasty lunch at some of the resort’s favourite eating places such as Slow Cuts in Arrowtown and the historic Cardrona Hotel on the Crown Range.
“Every brewery has its own unique Kiwi story to share which people love and many visitors on the tours have commented that it’s a fun way to see the beautiful scenery, share in the sights and enjoy amazing local food too,” says Katy.
In Queenstown the tour visits Altitude Brewing , Searchlight Brewery, Canyon Food & Brew Co and Lake & Wood Brew Company in Arrowtown while Beerworks, Ground Up and Rhyme & Reason are on the Wanaka tour.
“ Each tour gets to experience the art of brewing from behind the scenes and receive an insight into just what makes that perfect pour with plenty of tastings along the way,” says Katy. “ Even people who are less beer inclined are often surprised at how satisfying these distinctive craft brews are.”
Booking a Brewbus tour is easy online with centralised pickups available.
“ We also cater to custom-made tours and can create specially tailored packages for groups anywhere from eight to 100 people,” says Katy. “These bespoke packages can accommodate conferences, staff parties and client functions.”
Brewbus currently operates in Tauranga, Hamilton, Taupo, Queenstown, Wanaka and Auckland and Katy says there are plenty more regions to come.
“ We are loving what we do in both the North and South islands – taking people to where the beer is.”