NWBCA Top 30 – Sunshine Brewing

Sunshine Brewery

In 1989, Sunshine Brewery released its first beer, Gisborne Gold, a local lager that celebrated hot beaches, surf and the East Coast way of life. Last year, to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary of brewing, they commissioned a new brewhouse, launched a major rebranding and extended its taproom operation.

“Our heritage range of Gold, Green and Red were relaunched with a reworked original label and our core range of great beers were given a totally new look that reflects our roots,” said Martin Jakicevich, director and beer namer.

The brand was originally crafted by a couple of locals sitting out the back waiting for a set to roll in. On the back of Gisborne Gold and Black Magic stout, Sunshine was named the Supreme Brewery in the 1996 NZ Beer Show. Sadly, it then went walk about until 2013 when locals Martin Jakicevich and Peter Thorpe joined up with mark Young from Vitners NZ and purchased what was left of the brewery operation. They wanted to rebuild Sunshine to again be one of NZ’s leading and iconic independent breweries alongside one of the original owners Gerry Maude, who still is involved in the business.

Originally from Yorkshire, with brewing in his blood, head brewer Dave Huff earnt a degree in fine arts before setting off to see the world. He was so taken by the craft beer industry in New Zealand, he stayed on and earned his brewing stripes under the tutelage of some of New Zealand’s best brewers.

“He came to us from Hallertau and is the driving force behind all our beers and brewing. No one smiled more than us when he won 14 medals at the 2019 NZ Brewers Guild beer awards last year including the trophy for the best in the European Ale Class.”

Sunshine Brewing are the oldest surviving independent brewery in NZ, and are authentic and iconic just like its East Coast lifestyle.

“While our heritage range beers reflect the working person of our region and the outdoor lifestyle of the East Coast, our core range and seasonal beers are amongst the best you can find on the shelf.”

Over the last year a highlight has been to drink the first beer to be brewed on the new brewhouse (the first American brewing equipment brewhouse in NZ), a fully automatic 2500L 3-vessel steam driven kit.

“We really would like to say a massive thank you to the Foodstuffs operators in Gisborne who actually rang us and committed a display space to help us survive as a local business during lockdown.” The locals also made phone orders and helped to keep the business alive not just through lockdown but over the years.

“We have a real active seasonal programme and have started to put it into bottle, they are out there with plenty more on the way. We have settled in with our Brewhouse and rebrand so it’s time to broaden our horizons and develop our brand further. This means, new brews with a new look that are definitely worth keeping an eye out for.”

The brand has always worked towards catering for the whole crown which is why their Taproom always has 21 Sunshine brews available on tap.

“We understand that there are adventurous drinkers looking to find unique beer styles and casual drinkers looking for a consistent and refreshing, easy-drinking beers.