Monday was a milestone day for the Tuatara Brewing Company. With the help of a large crane, we installed our first ever billboard on Cable Street in central Wellington. It’s near Te Papa, the Capital’s number one tourist destination, so we figured there should be plenty of traffic going past and eager to learn something about our beers.

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The rumours are true – Tuatara Brewery is now part of a multinational corporation after being purchased at last week’s Auckland Beer Festival in Ellerslie Racecourse.

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It may be some time before you see Tuatara adverts on the television. Until then, we have to find different ways to stay in touch with our customers, potential customers, friends and venues. We are active on Facebook, Twitter and even follow the old ways of face-to-face meetings, usually over a pint or two.

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We are often complimented about our rather cool brewery name and asked why we picked it ahead of other native New Zealand animals such as the Grand Skink, Kauri Snail or Long-Tailed Bat. Frankly, we just liked the Tuatara’s attitude.

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On Friday 4 March 2010, the Brewer’s Guild of New Zealand and the Society of Beer Advocates organised six simultaneous events in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, Nelson and Blenheim to raise money for Christchurch Earthquake relief efforts. These events were on top of fund-raisers done by individual bars and breweries such as Galbraith’s, Hashigo Zake and Malthouse.

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On Sunday 27 February, Tuatara Brewing Company was delighted and proud to be a sponsor of the second annual Worser Bay Summerfest. This family-friendly event was a celebration of community, music, beer, wine and food with the proceeds going to the Worser Bay School, a learning establishment which Tuatara has strong family connections with.

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Last week, Victoria University of Wellington held its annual Orientation Week, now known by the far more hip moniker O-Week. As always, the major focus was music and parties, with some token efforts to show new students where things actually were on campus. The focal point for many events was a brand new venue - The Hunter Lounge in the Student Union.

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There is no doubt that the overall craft beer market in New Zealand is growing. That argument is supported by official figures from the Brewer’s Guild, our own sales and distribution numbers, and what we see every day in bars, restaurants, bottle stores and supermarkets around the country. In many ways, the craft beer scene is the strongest it has been in modern history.

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While most people readily accept the concept of wine and food matching, they are usually a bit more sceptical about beer and food combinations. Stereotypes are frequently trotted out – “beer goes with chips”, “beer goes with nuts”, “beer goes with pies” – and, yes, it usually does. However, if the right beer is selected, it can do so much more.

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The RateBeer website was created in 2000 which, in internet terms, was a very long time ago. Founder Bill Buchanan intended it to be a “forum for beer lovers to come together and share their opinions of beer and breweries.” It certainly became that – but probably on a much bigger scale than he imagined at the time.

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