NWBCA Top 30 – Brave Brewing Co.

Brave Brewing Co

Brave Brewing Co. launched in late 2014. The small, family owned and operated, award-winning brewery is located in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay. The husband and wife team, Matt and Gemma Smith started the business as a backyard operation and initially sold their product at the local farmer’s market. The home brewing duo quickly realised that it wasn’t just their friends and family that loved their brews, but the local and wider community too, which is when the hobby turned into a full-time job.

“We can now be found at our premises in central Hastings, with an onsite tasting room and cellar door,” said Gemma. “We like to think of ourselves as a friendly neighbourhood brewery. We’ve grown a little, but our ethos hasn’t changed one bit. We make quality, flavourful beer and serve it fresh.”

Brave Brewing Co

Brave Brewing is well-known for creating consistently good beer. “We are often told that we have a strong brand and I think this really stems from authenticity. We recently underwent a brand refresh and our design team (Parkby Projects) did so well to truly capture the essence of who we are. Well considered, yet a bit playful, bold, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

The pair hope that its beers will be far reaching and appeal to a wide audience, a true beer for the people.

“A business highlight for us this year is our new brewery and tasting room, which is currently under construction and looking really great. We are moving to new premises, a little more centrally located within Hastings and we can’t wait to be in our new space come Spring time.”

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Like it was for many businesses in New Zealand, going into lockdown was a strange and uncertain time. A large proportion of the brand’s sales is to on-premise accounts. So, with all of that out of the picture, the team definitely put their thinking caps on to adapt and get creative. “We got clever with our social media marketing, built on our already existing online webstore and went from there. Our online sales grew exponentially and as we entered into level three we began to offer same-day local deliveries and added a ‘Click and Collect’ service. Our wonderful front of house team, who are usually pouring pints became delivery drivers and despatch extraordinaires.” Both of these services were very well received and are still being used today.


The team try to release new products regularly, but often don’t find the time to squeeze new brews in between trying to keep up with demand for its core range items. But customers should keep an eagle eye out for two seasonal releases coming soon for the Winter season. Clifford, a Hoppy Red Ale and a delicious Milk Stout.

“We actually believe that many craft beer drinkers are becoming more discerning in their palates, and although there will always be a place for big juice hazy IPA’s and all sorts of wild things, simple recipes that are well-executed, such as our People’s Pils and fresh crushable lagers are having a resurgence.”

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