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Founded in 2008, Yeastie Boys have grown into a stalwart of the international brewing scene. Operating across continents, they were one of the first breweries in the world to bring hop forward beer styles to the masses. Stu McKinlay, self-styled “benevolent dictator” at Yeastie Boys tells how it all began.
“We're one of the world's smallest multinational companies, operating out of both NZ and the UK. We kicked off in 2008, making this year our 13th anniversary. We started brewing at a friend's brewery, making one-off seasonal beers only, and continued along on that part-time theme for six years before I decided it was time to ditch the day job and get into things full time. I was only full time for about six months before we crowdfunded half a million dollars in half an hour to kick off brewing in the UK. I moved my family here two months later and, almost all these years on, the UK is easily our biggest market.”
One of the first craft breweries to operate multinationally, Stu takes us through the challenges that came with such an ambitious operation…
“It's mutually tougher and more rewarding than operating out of one country. There's all the business side of things that make it tricky, like being 12,000 miles away from where some of the beer is being brewed and where a number of our staff are... but then there's also the personal side of bringing the family to the other side of the world. I have siblings in Manchester and the Scottish Borders but my wife has no one here.
Luckily we love exploring and we've had a lot of visitors. On the positive side of things, we've got the Pacific covered from NZ and we've got the UK and Europe covered from here. So we can get fresher beer to market, we can keep shipping costs and lead times down, we're a shade more sustainable than the average exported craft beer, and we get to be involved in the UK's beer scene at a time that is quite unlike any other in history.”
For tonight’s beer we have The Reflex, Yeastie Boys take us through it…
“ The Reflex is our take on a Helles style lager. A crisp and refreshing new wave lager with a gentle hoppiness that takes you to a sunny place. We add a modern twist with a delicate dry hop featuring our two favourite hops: Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc. This results in The Reflex feeling like Sauvignon Blanc’s beery cousin.”
Since last year, 8p of every can of The Reflex sold is donated to Hospitality Action during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Good beer doing good. We can get behind that!