Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Wellington Breweries Exhibition

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Opening this Saturday, August 3rd, at Hashigo Zake is an exhibition of recent photographs I have taken at the eight new breweries that have started brewing in Wellington in the last two years. Wellington has long been the craft beer consumption capital of New Zealand but has been remarkably quiet on the actual brewing side of things. The nearest breweries were in the Wairarapa and on the Kapiti Coast. Two years have made a huge difference and the eight new breweries are a welcome addition to our craft beer scene.

Come along to the red room at Hashigo Zake from 4pm to see the photos and chat with me over a beer. If you can’t make it on Saturday, the exhibition continues through Choice Beer Week until Sunday the 11th of August. Hashigo Zake will also be hosting the 2nd birthday celebration of The Garage Project on Saturday night so it should be a highly entertaining evening.

As a warm-up for the exhibition here are a few photos that didn’t make the cut:

Lester Dunn empties the mash tun after the first brew at the Fork & Brewer. Septemper 18, 2012.


Pete Gillespie and Jos Ruffel plan The Garage Project’s calendar. Aro Valley, April 28, 2013.


Chris Mills keeps an eye on his brew of For Great Justice at Kereru Brewing.Upper Hutt, June 20, 2013.


Aidan Styles check the gravity of the wort. Baylands Brewery, Newlands, June 25, 2013.


Dale Cooper, brewer at Black Dog Brew Co. Te Aro, June 30, 2013.


Shiggy Takagi and Dan Lord, of the Funk Estate, check the instructions for their beer gun before filling bottles of Super Afro-disiac. Massey University, Palmerston North, July 14, 2013.


Matt Warner checks the mash at ParrotDog Brewery. Te Aro, July 19, 2013.


Matt Kristofski in the steam at ParrotDog Brewery. Te Aro, July 19, 2013.


Mike Neilson checks the mash at Panhead Brewery. Upper Hutt, July 20, 2013.


Mike Neilson at Panhead Brewery. Upper Hutt, July 20, 2013.

The Little Big Brewery

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

A few nights ago I made a comment on Twitter about photographing a brewery in a tight space. This led to an amusing “mine’s smaller than yours” contest amongst some brewers before soon reverting back to the usual order of “mine’s bigger than yours”. There is a brewery that can lay claim to winning both of these contests in Wellington: the commercial brewery with the biggest brewhouse also has the smallest brewing capacity, at least for another week or two: Kereru Brewing in Upper Hutt.

Until recently Chris Mills has been brewing 100L batches at his home in Silverstream but after struggling to cope with demand, Chris and his wife Natasha decided to invest in a new 1800L brew kit. This meant finding a commercial space that would be suitable to house a brewery. The building they found in Upper Hutt, an old Feltex linoleum factory, is certainly big enough for future expansion, probably for all of Wellington’s breweries.

I had been keen to photograph Kereru in their new home since seeing a photo that Chris posted to Facebook, of his small brew kit in the middle of a very large space. I thought the contrasting scale would make for some good photos. Stupidly, I forgot to take many of those photos. Here’s one that kind of gives you a sense of scale.

Chris calculates how many fermenters it would take to fill the brewhouse. Answer? A lot! Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

The small brew kit has been busy as Chris readies all the beer he needs leading up Beervana. With beer in the tanks he will be able to give his full attention to setting up the new brewery kit when it arrives around the 7th of July. The day I was there Chris was brewing a beer for the SOBA Mid-Winter Ale Festival, a toasted coconut porter called “For Great Justice”. He had also made a delicious pea and ham soup for lunch that fed hungry photographers and contractors. (Thanks for that and the recipe, Chris).

More photos from brew day are below. There are even more in this gallery.

Small brewery, large space. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.


Chris Mills mills the grain for a brew. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.


Weighing hops to add to the kettle. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.


Measuring the gravity of the wort. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.


Small fermenter, large space. Ancient forklift. Kereru Brewing, Upper Hutt, 2013.

I think I need to work harder on finding new angles. These two photos were taken almost two hours apart and are a little too similar.


Congratulations to Emerson’s Brewery

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Congratulations to Richard Emerson and the crew at Emerson’s Brewery in Dunedin. I hope the Lion NZ buyout means fewer worries about growth and distribution and more time to focus on brewing more of your outstanding beers.

I visited Emerson’s with my camera in the winter of 2010. I accompanied Kieran Haslett-Moore to document the brewing of the first Regional Special Bitter, a collaboration between Regional Wines and Spirits and Emerson’s Brewery. Photos from those brew days are already online. Yesterday’s news of the buyout reminded me that there were other photos from Emerson’s that I have been meaning to add. Below are a few of my favourites. There are more in the gallery.

Richard Emerson. Dunedin, June 22, 2010.


Richard Emerson Empties a Mash Tun. Dunedin, 2010.


James Falconer keeping the brewery tidy. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Morning Tea. Chris “Father” O’Leary tests a beer from one of the conditioning tanks. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Lunch. Chris “Father” O’Leary and James Falconer taking a quick break for lunch. Emerson’s Brewery, Dunedin, 2010.


Emerson’s Bottling Line. Dunedin, 2010.


Boxing-up bottles at Emerson’s Brewery. Dunedin, 2010.


The Beer Project Heads to Australia

Friday, February 17th, 2012

I may have to change the tagline on this website: next month I am heading to Fremantle. I will be there to participate in a five-day photography workshop with the only Australian represented by the Magnum photo agency, Trent Parke. Check out his work and his Magnum portfolio. Some amazing use of light. He manages to make everyday street scenes look like scenes from another world. His book title, “Dream Life”, is very apt.

This workshop is the photography equivalent of spending five days working on your brewing with Richard Emerson, or five days working on your drinking with Ernest Hemingway. So I’m very, very excited. Five days of photographing, critiquing, editing, while being mentored by someone at the top of their game. It will be hard work but I will learn a lot which should result in even better photos here at The Beer Project.

Each participant in the workshop is expected to complete a project during the week. The best images from each participant will be projected at an event on the Saturday night as part of the PhotoFreo Festival. Of course my project proposal involved beer. I plan to photograph craft brewers in Freemantle and Perth, similar to my work on NZ craft brewers. A secondary project documenting the general beer-drinking culture there is also an option. I’d be interested to make a comparison to NZ.

Part of the application process for a place in the workshop was sending a portfolio of five images. At first I thought “how am I going to narrow it down to five photos?”. Then I thought “argh, I don’t have five good photos”. After a bit of help on Twitter I selected these five, all from The Beer Project.

Martin Townshend
Welding at Cassels & Sons Brewery
Ian Ramsay

There are a few ways you can help me on my journey.

  1. Information. Send me tips about Freemantle and Perth, especially info about bars and breweries. Email me or message me (@jedsoane) on Twitter.
  2. Money. This is not a cheap trip so give me a hand: hire me to do a photography job, buy a print, buy a framed print of your favourite brewer (most of my favourites are on the homepage), or just send me $5. Some more specific items for sale will pop up over the next week or two but email me with any special requests you might have in the meantime.
  3. General encouragement. I am pretty laid-back and need a bit of a kick to get me into action.

Thanks for all the support so far. Now grab a beer and toast to better photos on The Beer Project.


Happy Birthday, Ian Ramsay

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Ian Ramsay, the brewer at Galbraith’s Alehouse in Auckland, is the most methodical, meticulous, and modest brewer I have met. Those are essential qualities to be a brewer (well, the first two at least) but Ian masterfully takes them to another level.

Today is Ian’s birthday. I was surprised to find out that he turned sixty five. The man has more energy than brewers forty years his junior. He makes damn fine beer too, although he’ll try to play it down. Happy birthday, Ian.

The Auger to The Mash Tun
Mashing In
Checking the Clarity
Cleaning the Fermenter
Ian Ramsay

Have a look at the full set of photos.

If you’re in Auckland on Monday, make sure you head in to Galbraith’s for the first release of the Guest Cask Series. The first beer in the series is The Yeastie Boys Nerdherder B, brewed by Ian and Yeastie Boy B, Stu McKinlay. Monday is also the brew day for the second beer in the Guest Cask Series. Chris “Father” O’Leary from Emerson’s (and ex-owner/brewer of Limburg, the brewery that converted me into a wheat beer lover in the early 2000s) will be there brewing a Red IPA. It’s the perfect chance to show your love for craft beer by hugging a brewer or three.