Friends brewing up a new partnership

From left, Slow Cuts co-owner Sam Gruar, Arrowtown Brewing Company co-owner Michael Thomas, Slow...
From left, Slow Cuts co-owner Sam Gruar, Arrowtown Brewing Company co-owner Michael Thomas, Slow Cuts manager Charlotte Kerr and Arrowtown Brewing co-owner David Gent PICTURE: BROOKE OWENS
It's the perfect match.

Tonight, Arrowtown Brewing Co (ABC) has officially launched at their new home, Arrowtown’s Slow Cuts.

It also couldn’t come at a better time with the brewing company, launched in 2017 by mates Michael Thomas, Dave Gent and the late Tim Hemingway, on the brink of folding.

"It was like every other brewery — we were contract brewing and it was tough," Thomas says.

"We were having to bring the stuff down from Christchurch and [the cost of] freight and everything like that.

"You see how many breweries are falling over at the moment; she’s pretty tight, there’s not a lot of money in it.

"So we were thinking, ‘can we keep going?’, and then out of the blue [Slow Cuts owners] PJ [Penelope Johnson] and Sam [Gruar] came to us — it couldn’t have come at a better time, for us and them."

Ironically, the building Slow Cuts calls home was first Arrow Brewing — which shut up shop and moved to Invercargill in 2014, a couple of years before the big craft beer boom.

All their equipment was taken out and when Slow Cuts moved in, it was refurbed, complete with a boutique brewery at the rear, which has, till recently, been run by Lake & Wood.

After Lake & Wood moved out, the brewery sat empty for a few weeks till the approach was made to ABC.

"We’re really grateful," Thomas says.

"It’s a great opportunity for us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time because the model we were doing was becoming uneconomic and now we’re back, we’re actually brewing in Arrowtown — we’re the only ones actually brewing in Arrowtown — and we’re Arrowtown Brewing."

He jokes having spent a fair amount of money over the bar at Johnson and Gruar’s venues over the years, "it only makes sense" he and Gent make some money there now.

They’ll be serving an IPA, the Lake Haze hazy IPA, a Sawpit pilsner, the Soho Sour and a ginger beer, dubbed Gold Digger, at Slow Cuts and La Rumbla, also owned by Johnson and Gruar, while the beers are also on tap at Bendix Stables.

Thomas says they’re hoping to get their tipples on a couple of other taps across the Whakatipu, but they have no plans for "global domination".

"It really is only going to stay as a little boutique [brewery], a little fun thing and very local — completely local, to be honest.

"You’ll have to come here to drink it, because we won’t be canning or bottling any more."