Eye-opening new look for Tuatara

Posted on Wednesday 17/04/2019

Tuatara launches five new beers and new-look packaging that brings tuatara eye design to life.

Tuatara Brewery is launching five new beers, simplifying its beer brand names and introducing a striking new packaging design showcasing the same tuatara eye that has long been an icon for the Kapiti based craft brewery, most recognisably on its bottle cap.

Set to hit stores early next month, the packaging that will adorn new Tuatara beer boxes and bottle labels moves from a typography design style to a reptilian inspired tuatara eye that will look right at home in a local bar, or in the door of the fridge at home.

In addition to the new packaging, the brand is also taking the opportunity to update the range and introduce some new exciting styles. The new beers being launched this month include a new IPA, a Hazy Pale Ale, a Hazy IPA, a Baltic Porter and a NZ IPA. A number of beers from the old range will step aside to make way for the introduction of the new brews.

The Head Brewer at the Paraparaumu brewery, Brayden Rawlinson, who along with Tuatara Founder, Carl Vasta, developed the five new beers launched this month, says he is excited for people to try the new Tuatara brews: “We’ve had a lot of fun with this new line up.”

“We’re a big fan of hazy styles and have been playing around with them a lot in the last year - our customers can’t seem to get enough of them. The new Hazy IPA is a refined recipe based on the crowd favourites Suspense and Kilmog Fog. And the new Hazy Pale Ale we are launching is, in my opinion, the ultimate hazy - with all the big flavour and aroma you should expect from this style, but with a slightly lower ABV,” says Rawlinson.

“Last year we did a Baltic Porter at The Third Eye, our Wellington microbrewery, and it was one of our most popular beers so we’ve been itching to release another for people to get stuck into. We also know that Tuatara drinkers love Kiwi hops and our new NZ IPA has a massive hop profile that really celebrates the prodigious tropical characteristics of NZ grown hops,” says Rawlinson.

“And then we have the new IPA – which is the beer we’re all the most excited by. It’s got big tropical flavours and a beautifully balanced bitterness - kind of a Frankenstein beer, in the best way, because we have created something that we’d all like to drink,” says Rawlinson.

Tuatara Founder, Carl Vasta, says that the new packaging makes great sense for the brand.

“The time is right to shed our old skin. We always like to challenge ourselves to be better, and so we’ve taken a look at our core range and have simplified it to make it easier to navigate. The style of each beer has been made bigger and clearer so hopefully customers will find it easier to find what they want,” says Vasta.

“We go to great lengths to put quality beer inside the bottle, and we know we need to take just as much care in producing great packaging as well. Tuatara drinkers can be reassured that their favourite brews are still available, but with an easier to find style driven name and look.”

“Over the last 20 years we’ve seen quite an evolution of the Tuatara brewery, and we’ve learned to always listen to what our customers want. We know our customers love the ‘Tuatara’ in our packaging, and so we are giving them that with the more overt use of the distinctive tuatara eye bottle cap design. We think the new designs really get to the heart of Tuatara - as well as making it easier for drinkers to explore,” says Vasta.

The distinctive scaly ‘tuatara skin’ bottles and eye-adorned bottle caps will not be changed with the introduction of the new packaging, and all Tuatara products continue to be brewed, bottled and hand packed at the Kapiti brewery.

The new packaging and 5x new beers will be rolling out in hospitality venues from the end of April and in supermarkets and liquor stores from the beginning of May.

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About Tuatara

Tuatara is a craft brewery from the Kapiti Coast that found success as one of a handful of beer companies that kicked off the Wellington craft beer movement in the early 2000s. The brewery was established in 2000 by Carl and Simone Vasta, Fraser McInnes and Sean Murrie. Carl Vasta, one of the original craft beer pioneers in New Zealand, continues to be an integral part of the fabric of the brand today.

Brewing originally from a shed on the Vasta’s farm in the back blocks of Kapiti, it quickly outgrew the ever expanding shed and moved to bigger premises in Paraparaumu in 2013.

Tuatara is the only brewery to be named Champion New Zealand Brewery twice, once in 2008 and again in 2016.

In 2015 Tuatara transformed the old printers at 30 Arthur St on the bypass in Wellington into the Tuatara Temple of Taste – The Third Eye. At the Third Eye there is an in-house microbrewery which acts as an incubator for our brewers’ experimentation. Bottle brews often emerge out of The Third Eye’s regular trial programme.

History of the tuatara eye design

The eye design inspiration originally came from one of the lesser-known attributes of our namesake, a hidden pineal eye located on the top of a tuatara’s head. And Tuatara has a long history of using the eye. Starting in around 2003, we began introducing fun tuatara-reptilian characteristics into our branding. The same distinctive bottle cap graphic eye design was introduced at the same time as the much-loved scaly bottle, in 2013. And of course The Third Eye brewery in Wellington has been around since 2015.

Summary of name changes

Core range

Kapai Aotearoa Pale Ale rerverts back to Aotearoa Pale Ale

Tomahawk APA reverts back to APA

MotEureka Pilsner reverts back to Pilsner

Weiz Guy Hefeweizen changes to Hefeweizen

Coastin Session IPA changes to Session IPA

Helluva Helles Lager reverts back to Helles Lager

500ml range

Triple Barrel changes to Tripel Barrel Conviction Tripel

5 new beers:


LOOK: Bright golden

AROMA: Layers of citrus from the fruit forward hops

TASTE: Very fruity flavours of citrus, tropical and stone fruits. Balanced malt base. Solid bitterness.


AVAILABLE IN: Tap, 500ml, 6 pack, Mix 6

Hazy Pale Ale

LOOK: Dull golden, slightly hazy

AROMA: Tropical and citrus fruits with subtle honey malt

TASTE: A refreshing combination of mango and pineapple with a generous dose of citrus. Light bodied with honeyed malt undertones.


AVAILABLE IN: Tap, 500ml, 6 pack, Mix 6

Roughneck Hazy IPA 

LOOK: Hazy orange

AROMA: Tropical and citrus fruit marry beautifully with the subtle esters of banana and apple

TASTE: Layers of tropical (Mango, Pineapple) and Citrus (Orange) fruit coming from the big, staggered triple dry hop. Some residual sweetness and a seemingly non-existent bitterness from the judicial use of kettle hops. Creamy mouthfeel and texture.

ALCOHOL (ABV): 7.1%   

AVAILABLE IN: Tap, 500ml

Midnight Sun Baltic Porter

LOOK: Deepest dark red

AROMA: Rich plum and raisin

TASTE: Lots of silky, velvety chocolate on the palate, very light coffee character. Beautifully weighted, rich, warming and embracing


AVAILABLE: 500ml and on tap

Primeval Tendency NZ IPA

LOOK: Copper

AROMA: Herb, citrus, toasted caramel

TASTE: Orange zest and pine flavours balanced with a full-bodied crystal malt sweetness


AVAILABLE: Tap, 500ml

Summary of beers removed from range

Amarillo American Dark Ale

Hopfinity NZIPA

Double Trouble Double IPA

Sauvinova Single Hop Pale Ale

Hi Res American IPA

For more information, samples or images please contact: Natasha Gillooly: Natasha.gillooly@db.co.nz 027 284 9303 or Kim Meo: kim.meo@tuatarabrewing.co.nz 021546695

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