Garage Project named New Zealand’s Champion Brewer

Garage Project’s Kieran Burns , Carrie McLachlan, Pete Gillespie, Hannah White an Ian Gillespie

Wellington’s Garage Project has been named New Zealand’s Champion Brewer at the 2017 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards.

The Te Aro brewery heads off 111 other breweries, including nine overseas entries, to win New Zealand’s most prestigious brewing industry honour.

The Award was presented the Brewers Guild Gala Dinner held in Christchurch tonight.

Garage Project’s win is earned through its medal-haul – four Golds, nine Silvers, and 13 Bronze – all determined through blind judging with an expert panel. Garage Project also brings home the trophy for Best Flavoured and Aged Beer, for Cabbages and Kings Imperial Oyster Stout.

Garage Project was established in 2011 by Jos Ruffell and brothers Pete and Ian Gillespie. It famously released 24 different beers in its first 24 weeks, in tiny 50-litre batches. Today it operates in a former petrol station on Aro Street, and has a second site for wild-fermented and experimental brews.

The brewery has collected a string of brewing and business accolades, including a silver medal at the 2014 World Beer Cup; topping the Deloitte’s Fast 50 in 2015; and the Society of Beer Advocates Best Brewery award in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Garage Project has also created collaborations with other businesses as diverse as Singapore Airlines, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Wellington Zoo and Weta Workshop.

American brewery Boston Beer Company is Champion International Brewery, and Auckland contract brewery Steam wins the Champion Manufacturer award.

Brewers Guild Chairman Jonathan Alve says Garage Project’s win shows the ever-increasing level of innovation on New Zealand brewing. “Ever since it started Garage Project has built a reputation for boundary-bending beers created with unusual ingredients and techniques. The fact it won 26 medals shows that this innovative approach also produces a wide range of beers that are technically excellent in their delivery.”

“This year we had a record 964 entries, up from 946 last year and 858 in 2015. The Brewers Guild Awards are easily the biggest and most-respected beer competition run in New Zealand. We have international beer judges working to the highest standards, and brewers are very keen to win the recognition of their peers,” Jonathan Alve says.

The Guild also recognises achievement in other aspects of the brewing industry:

Three Boys’ Ralph Bungard and Gabi and Doug Michael were honoured at the awards.

  • The Morton Coutts Award for Innovation goes to Hamish Jones of The Nuts Brewing Co, which specialises in brewing gluten-free beers.
  • Gabi and Doug Michael of Gladfield Malt collect the 2017 Industry Achievement Award.
  • The Beer Writer of the Year award goes to Alice Galletly, author of ‘How to Have a Beer’.
  • Jenny Cameron, Ralph Bungard and Craig Bowen are honoured for their Guild service.

For the full list of medal winners go to

Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards 2017

Principal sponsorCryermalt

Gladfield Malt New Zealand Champion Brewery
Garage Project

Enpac Champion Manufacturer
Steam Brewery

NZ Hops Champion International Brewery
Boston Beer Co.

Trophy Winners

O-I New Zealand International Lager
McLeod’s Brewery /Longboarder

Cryermalt New Zealand Lager
Eagle Brewing /Dry Hopped Pilsner

ICIB Insurance Brokers British Ale
Lion BSW NZ /Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark

BeerNZ European Ale
Tuatara Brewing /Tripel Barrel

Beertown.NZ US Ale
Brave Brewing /Clifford

Weyermann Pale Ale
Tuatara Brewing /Aotearoa Pale Ale

Ecolab Strong Pale Ale
Bootleg Brewery / Ape Hanger IPA

Kegstar Stout & Porter
Sawmill Brewery / Sawmill Baltic Porter

The Shout Wheat & Other Grain
Sawmill Brewery / Sawmill/Good George Weizenbock

Excel Digital Flavoured & Aged
Garage Project / Cabbages and Kings

Plant & Food Research Specialty, Experimental, Aged, Barrel & Wood-Aged
Liberty Brewing / Prohibition

Convention Management NZ Cider or Perry
Lion BSW NZ / Isaac’s Cider Original

Label & Litho Fruit or Flavoured Cider or Perry
Zeffer Cider / Apple Crumble Cider

Viniquip International Packaging
Emerson’s Brewery / Emerson’s Range


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