A 30th birthday is special. On one hand, it signifies adulthood, wisdom and a sense of identity. And on the other, it means party time! Mac’s, New Zealand’s original craft beer, turns 30 this November, and wants everyone to join in as it celebrates its maturity into a New Zealand favourite over the last three decades.
Mac’s has seen a fair few things in its 30 years. Production began in a small microbrewery in Nelson in 1981, and since then the brand has gone from strength to strength. It now boasts an extended family of naturally brewed beers, ciders and non-alcoholic drinks, each with its own unique personality and taste:
Great White, Mac’s version of a classic Belgian Witbier
Sassy Red, an aromatic ale with five different malts
Mac’s Gold, a golden lager with sweet malts and citrus
Spring Tide, a clean and dry-tasting organic low-carb brew
Hop Rocker, a hoppy golden pilsener with citrus aromas and bitter notes
Black Mac, dark and rich with mellow hints of caramel and chocolate
Mac’s Isaac’s Cider and Pear Cider are sourced from locally-grown apples and pears, and Mac’s sophisticated non-alcoholic range includes Ginger Beer, Lemon Crush, Green Apple, and Feijoa & Pear. Seasonal releases include Brewjolais, crafted from the first hops of the harvest to celebrate the new brewing season. Mac’s distinctive, imaginative packaging, recently re-vamped, is instantly recognizable, as is the traditional short, rippled bottle.
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 hugely successful Mac’s Brewbars can be found in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
“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 Alasdair Clem, 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 beer and we’re happy to celebrate 30 years of brewing amazing beer.”
While Mac’s well-earned heritage has seen it become an iconic New Zealand brand, it’s always been about fun, quirkiness and not taking itself too seriously. Celebrations throughout November will include food and drinks specials at Brewbars, Mac’s giveaways, and a special summer beer release. And don’t forget the party - all eight Brewbars will also be celebrating together, 80s-style, on the night of November 25.
So until then, turn up some music by The Clean, chuck Smash Palace on the telly, reminisce about a certain controversial rugby tour, grab a cold Mac’s brew, and revel in all things 1981!