Located in Silverdale, in the sunny north, Deep Creek Brewing Company has been brewing premium craft beers for the last eight years, and according to Jarred Maclachlan, co-founder, they have had a ton of fun along the way. The Deep Creek Brewing Company is built on friendship, family and camaraderie, and when combined with a passion for brewing and adventure, consumers are gifted a flavour journey through Deep Creek’s brews. Maclachlan’s journey with brewing began in his garage, with Paul Brown, where the pair looked to produce beers initially for their friends and family. “This hobby quickly became an obsession, and the demand for our beer grew to a point where we needed to find a way to brew and serve our customers on a commercial scale.” Teaming up with Scott Taylor, a man with a wealth of hospitality experience, the trio created their brewpub ‘home’ in Browns Bay, where they could serve their beers alongside food. “At the time, we were the only brewery/brewpub on the North Shore, and we spent a lot of time educating our customers on the flavour profiles of our beer.” The demand in the brewpub began to outstrip Maclachlan and the team’s ability to produce their beer, so they built a production brewery—the powerhouse behind their beer production.
“Our approach to creating great beer is always driven from a sense of adventure. Our brewers are inherently creative people, and by utilising an enormous variety of ingredients, we aim to create beers that are adventurous, exciting and thirst-quenching.” Maclachlan said that the team focus on ensuring that the ingredients of the beer work together in a way that is challenging and satisfying to the drinker—especially for those seeking something a little different.
The Deep Creek range consists of everything from sessionable everyday styles, such as lagers, pilsners, and pales ales, to offerings a little different, with their IPAs and sour style beers. “In creating such flavours, we offer something for beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike; this is why our Tiki Range of sour style beers has a wide appeal, especially with people who think they didn’t like beer—they just hadn’t discovered the different flavours of these styles.”
The modern beer scene sees a myriad of beer flavours available, but Maclachlan identified one particular factor in producing a ‘great’ beer. “The key to a great beer is balance, whatever the style, the flavours need to balance.” In addition to balance, Maclachlan noted that healthy fermentation and great packaging are also contributing factors to the overall appeal of a beer. “Creating great beer starts with selecting the best quality ingredients, requires laser-like attention to detail to ensure quality controls are achieved during the brewing and packaging process and requires a huge amount of careful handling from packaging to the consumer’s glass.”
Per capita, New Zealand has the most craft breweries, something that Maclachlan said helps raise the quality of our beers higher and higher. Our craft beer industry is exciting and dynamic, something that allows consumers a lot of choices, and encourages brewers to develop their beer knowledge properly. “With this level of competition in the market, consistent, high-quality beer is as essential to our business, as is producing new and interesting styles and flavours that appeal to consumers.” Although New Zealand’s craft beer market might be saturated, Maclachlan noted the high level of cooperation and collaboration between breweries. “The great thing about the craft beer scene is the level of collaboration that is at play, not only between craft brewers but also with hop and malt growers, hospitality venues, etc. All of these people play an important role in building the profile of flavour-fuelled beer.”
Maclachlan expects that alongside quality, sour beers and IPAs will continue to develop as trends in the beer scene. Sour beers will continue to evolve, said Maclachlan, incorporating everything from slightly tart and easy drinking styles through to complex barrel sours. In the IPA world, he said, “IPAs are here to stay and will continue to morph into various incarnations as season, ingredients and brewers’ imaginations continue to evolve.” On top of these trends, low- and no-alcohol options are becoming popular amongst consumers, perhaps something that the craft beer clientele may be slightly resistant to. “Craft beer drinkers are drinking for quality; it is about exploring and appreciating the many flavours that craft beer offers, rather than sitting back drinking quantity. As with any business involved in the alcohol industry in New Zealand, we advocate for enjoying our beer responsibly.” Having said this, perhaps there is a gap for craft beers that can provide to this low- and no-alcohol market, considering the competition the wider market sees.
Looking ahead, Deep Creek is focussing on growth, both within the New Zealand market and the export market. “Export is necessary for our business’ growth, particularly as New Zealand now has such a crowded market, and it becomes more difficult to get shelf space in a store and a tap at a bar. To stay in the game, breweries need to be smart with their business models as well as ensuring that the quality of the product is never compromised.” Having said this, Deep Creek has been founded on the shared passion of pushing the creative boundaries of beer—something that is sure to continue to be the main focus for all involved.