Social Experiment pays off for brewer

Celebrating their win in the 2024 New World Beer & Cider Awards Top 30 are b.effect Brewery Co...
Celebrating their win in the 2024 New World Beer & Cider Awards Top 30 are b.effect Brewery Co staff (from left) James Hay, Johanna Lindqvist (back), Grace Cuttance, Jonathan Kauri (back), Lucy Wallis and Tom Gerlach. PHOTO: REGAN HARRIS
Beer enthusiasts keen to sample a Wānaka brewery’s award-winning IPA will need to hop to it.

That is because when batch 22 of b.effect Brewery Co.’s Social Experiment West Coast IPA sells its final can, it is gone for good.

Brewed at b.effect’s  brewery and taproom in Wānaka, the IPA was announced  a winner in the 2024 New World Beer & Cider Awards Top 30 on Monday, beating  more than 600 entries for the honour.

"Everything else has got a recipe and you make that same beer but with Social Experiment, we make it differently each time,"  b.effect Brewing Co general manager Tom Gerlach said.

Each batch kept a similar malt base, he said, but the brewers used different hops each time, giving each batch a slightly different flavour profile.

Mr Gerlach said the beer was consistently one of their best, and had generated quite a loyal fanbase in Wānaka over the past several years.

"It’s designed to create a beer that people follow and people enjoy, but they want to try something different every time we make it."

Despite its popularity, the realities of beer brewing meant this year was the first time b.effect had managed to enter a Social Experiment batch into New World’s competition.

Mr Gerlach said the brewery typically did not "chase awards", but admitted the team were "super proud" to have one of their most popular beers get recognition on a national level.

"We’ve already had, on the basis of just the awards coming out, we’ve had orders from other stores in the North Island."

He said he hoped the win would ultimately empower b.effect to continue their work with the local community, including the production of their "Community Brews" — drinks brewed seasonally in collaboration with community organisations such as Protect Our

Winters, the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation and Bike Glendhu as both a funds and awareness raising initiative.

"The more that we can sell these sorts of things, the more it enables us to do the things we do in the community and continue to support Wānaka and the place we call home."