Craft brewer shifting shop

Arrowtown Brewing Co has shut up shop in the town, the four-year-old craft beer label shifting operations to Invercargill.

Demand for the brand, which boasts 15 different types of beer, has left ABC co-owner Greg McMeeken little choice but to relocate to bigger premises in Invercargill.

Company costs in Arrowtown forced Mr McMeeken to sell the bar where it all began and focus solely on brewing.

The closure of the Arrowtown bar has not been all bad news for the company as it now looks to expand throughout Otago and Southland, concentrating mainly on supermarkets.

While Mr McMeeken and marketing manager Darryl Jones will stay in Arrowtown, brewer John Timpany will remain in Invercargill.

''There was a rumour going around that we had gone broke. There is a big demand in supermarkets; it's all about volume now,'' Mr McMeeken said.

''We need forklifts and tractors and we can't do it from the main street of Arrowtown."

The bar closed on November 30, which was an emotional time for both staff and customers, Mr McMeeken said.

''It's pretty sad really. People were asking me 'where are we going to drink now?'."

The company planned to concentrate solely on brewing and on a larger scale, which was likely to result in Queenstown bars and others further south stocking the label's beers in future.

ABC beer is now available at Arrowtown's The Tap and Fork as well as the town's latest bar addition, La Rumbla, which opened next door two months ago. ABC would approach more outlets about its product because its expansion meant it could deliver in greater volume.

''You'll see a huge influence up here in the next year or so."

They also planned to continue the mobile bar for events in Central Otago such as Warbirds over Wanaka, market days and A&P shows.

The ultimate goal for ABC was to build its website so all orders from customers could be done online, Mr McMeeken said.

The company also has plans for a bar in Invercargill once it is settled there.

''We were always going to be in a situation where we had to expand. We started four years ago and tried to create a new product and it's been fantastic. The response has been great."