What started as a hobby for father and son team Gerry and Steve Nally has turned into the all-consuming business that is Invercargill Brewery.
When Steve graduated from the University of Canterbury with a handy degree in chemistry, his OBE took him to Europe, where he ended up playing rugby for Epernay in France – on Moet’s home turf.
“At the rugby club, the main sponsors were champagne houses, so we drank champagne. It was one of the most surreal parts of my life, but it was one of the most defining periods.”
When he returned to Invercargill in the mid-90s, Steve got a real job in a lab – for a short time. Even then, the call of the beer was strong – on weekends, Steve would visit abandoned orchards to fill a trailer with chopped fruit to try his hand at cider.
Jerry, who rightfully should have been thinking about retirement, realized he was spending more and more time thinking about brewing.
Eventually the bug took over. In 1999, Steve and Jerry rented an unused diary barn on Oteramica Road on the outskirts of town and started the business.
When beer author Keith Stewart published his “Complete Guide to New Zealand Beer” just three years later, he described it as “an impressive little brewery that embodies the entrepreneurship and creativity of New Zealand’s next generation of brewers.”
Stewart gave Pitch Black a 9/10 on the taste test and Beaman a 7/10.
The first drink of Invercargill Breweries – IBS – was replaced by a popular pale ale called Stanley Green. Lance Corporal Stanley Green was Steve’s maternal grandfather, who survived Dunkirk only to be killed while training in Scotland in 1942.
“I think he was an ordinary man who did something extraordinary,” Steve said, and was a big inspiration for one of his favorite beers.
In 2005, the brewery outgrew the old blue dairy barn and moved to Invercargill town center, where the story continues.
Invercargill Breweries beer range:
Stanley Green – 4.7% ABV Stylized on the basis of pale ale. Pale bronze color, hints of fruitcake and dry hoppy flavor are all included in this traditional ale. It is a nice rounded beer that is best served at 13ºC. BrewNZ bronze medal
Wasp 5.2% ABV We blend four malts and two types of hops with Kamahi honey from the Katlin Forest to create an authentic New Zealand flavor. A great beer at any time. Best served well chilled.
B.man 5.2% ABV A smooth, all-malt New Zealand pilsner with an attractive tropical fruit hop aroma that complements authentic Indian cuisine. It is the perfect side dish to curry.
BrewNZ Gold Medal and Best in Class 2008; Bronze Medal 2006.