Island Flavors on Tap: Great Barrier Brewing Company Seeks New Owners. Photo / Mark Russell

Liquid Gold: Iconic Barrier Brewery on the Market

Island Flavors on Tap: Great Barrier Brewing Company Seeks New Owners. Photo / Mark Russell

Great Barrier Island Brewing Company, the brainchild of local icons Mike Brown and Erica Archibald, is on the market.

The business, known for its bespoke beer and kombucha served at My Fat Puku café and the Social Club, represents a significant chapter in the island’s recent entrepreneurial history. Launched amid the success of their My Fat Puku Café, Mike and Erica expanded their culinary offering with the brewery, which quickly became synonymous with local craftsmanship and community.

Reflecting on the foundation of the business, Erica said, “Mike said to me, ‘do you want a business partner?’ and that was the beginning of everything. He was all about the beer; it was his baby. We wanted to create a spot that was all about what we loved – local produce, great food, and, of course, excellent beer.”

Mike, a figure interwoven with the fabric of the island through his efforts ranging from hospitality to the organization of the Wharf to Wharf Marathon, left an indelible mark. Not only was he known for his contributions to local events and the surfing community, but also for his role as a supportive dad, even serving as a caddy for his son Mitch at the Para-Olympics last year.

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Following Mike’s passing just days before Christmas in 2023, Erica has found solace in her return to horticulture, deciding now is the time to hand over the reins. “It’s time to sell the brewery now,” she said, referring to her move towards focusing on her nursery at Awana.

Mike’s share in the brewery has passed to his kids, Aimee and Para-Olympic medalist Mitch. With the family navigating Mitch’s health challenges, the decision to sell aligns with a collective move forward. Erica adding, “Mike was fine with that. He wanted everything easy for everybody. We talked about it, he wanted to sell it before he went…but we said, ‘don’t worry about it, dude. We can do that.’”

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Erica reflected on the journey of continuing the brewery’s legacy without Mike, “Some of the filings, etc., which was Mike’s. When I was filing the stuff, I was in tears,” she confessed.

Island Flavors on Tap: Great Barrier Brewing Company Seeks New Owners. Photo / Simmsy at large via Untappd
Great Barrier Brewing Company Seeks New Owners. Photo / Simmsy at large via Untappd

The brewery produces a range of beers, including Brownies APA, which features local kawakawa and honey. There’s also kombucha, cider, and even the option for customers to create their own unique soft drinks which Erica says could be big business for the right person.

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“It’s actually got a lot more scope than just doing beer. You can do like a whole range of soft drinks. You could do like a swappa bottle. Let’s say you put it into the stores and you know people just bring their bottles and take a dozen away, because we can bottle it in the little brewery” she adds.

The fully equipped brewery includes an insulated and temperature-controlled brewing shed, walk-in chiller, brew kegs, bottles, and everything needed to start brewing from day one, with full training and recipes provided to ensure a seamless transition for the new owner.

“So you’re actually connected to all the services of Claris Center. So you’ve got UV filtered water, you’ve got metered power. You’ve got really great access and that just works really well, but if you wanted you could move buildings to another site, it’s easy.” Erica detailed, highlighting the potential for the next owners to continue the lease, or relocate to a new base around the motu.

For those intrigued by the possibility of continuing the legacy of this boutique microbrewery, contact Erica at ericaarchibald@hotmail.com or 02108407869.

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