Hayden Gerrard is relatively new to the brewing industry, yet his five years of experience have led him to be the head brewer at Searchlight Brewery in Queenstown.
It all started at Wellington Brewpub Fork and Brewer in 2018. Gerrard's time was often spent alongside then-head brewer Kelly Ryan.
Ryan impressed Gerrard with his ability to tackle the questions about brewing quickly, and this piqued his interest.
"After Fork, I found myself working at Baylands Brewery in Petone as an assistant brewer, beginning my journey as a brew maker", said Gerrard.
There, Gerrard was taught by Aidan Styles, who showed him the ropes of the ins and outs of working in the brewing industry.
Searchlight Brewery is a reflection of Gerrard's philosophy. Trying new things and seeing how they affect the beer, then comparing and contrasting to the previous batch.
Often monitoring what the audience likes and dislikes and reflecting on his perspective, Gerrard enjoys consistently learning and seeking assistance from others with more experience.
One of Gerrard's most rewarding aspects on the job is when people enjoy the beer, reminding him why he loves his work.
Alongside customers enjoying his beer, one of Gerrard's highlights is being a part of the team winning the 2021 West Coast IPA challenge, a true circle moment for the brewer after being a punter there in 2016.
In the future, Gerrard intends to move with his wife to America's east coast.
"There, I plan to continue brewing and expand my skillset even more. Getting to see the 'Mecca' of craft beer and immersing myself in it," said Gerrard.
As Searchlight Brewery continues to grow, they are also preparing for the Winter Beer Festival on the 1st of July, which looks to celebrate local breweries and satisfy skiers and snowboarders after the slopes.