Kono Adds Craft Brewery to Kete of Brands

Kono, the Māori family-owned food and beverage business, will be adding craft beer to its kete of brands when boutique beer brewery, Hop Federation, joins its whānau in early August.
Hop Federation, based in Riuwaka, will join other Kono brands - Tohu Wines, Kono Wines, Tutū cider, Annies fruit snacks, Kiwa oysters and Yellow Brick Road, a sustainable seafood supply business.

Kono, which takes its name from a woven basket traditionally used to present food to guests, grows hops along with apples, pears, and kiwifruit in Motueka, and grows, harvests, processes and exports greenshell mussels.

‘We’re very excited to have Hop Federation join us," said Rachel Taulelei, Kono CEO. "Combining our experience in growing hops with Hop Federation’s expertise in brewing award-winning craft beer opens up possibilities for both businesses.

"Our business model with mussels and wine is vertically integrated, which means we are involved with our product every step of the way – from vineyard and farm all the way to glass and table. We’ve been growing hops for over a decade now, and having our own brewery puts us in this same space – it gives us opportunities for innovation and creativity that we don’t have as a hop-grower alone."

Hop Federation was founded in 2013 by husband and wife team, Simon and Nicki Nicholas, who, along with the three-person brewery team, will all join Kono.

"Kono is a brilliant fit for Hop Federation. They are a family business, Te Tauihu-based, and experienced hop growers. We share their passion for sustainability, outstanding produce and making a difference in the community. The Hop Federation team are looking forward to joining the Kono whānau, and continuing to create great beer," said Simon Nicholas, Hop Federation founder and head brewer.

To celebrate Hop Federation joining Kono, a special Hop Federation Kono Hazy IPA, with a label inspired by the Matariki star cluster, will be released.

"Matariki is traditionally a time when people come together with whānau and friends, to reflect on the past and to look forward to the future. So it seemed appropriate that the first Hop Federation beer officially released by Kono reflects this special time of the year."