Renaissance looking for rebirth

Renaissance Brewing

New Zealand’sRenaissance Brewinghopes to trade out of its current difficulties (Image: Renaissance Brewing)

New Zealand’sRenaissance Brewingwent intovoluntary administrationon Monday afternoon, a process aimed at rescuing companies that have a chance of rehabilitation.

According to founder and director Brian Thiel, that is his aim for the brewery.

“As the sole director, I made the decision to appoint an administrator. He says the end game is to see the brand and the business continue. We don’t want to see this brand die,” Brian said.

“Yesterday we brewed Voyager, tomorrow we’re filtering Empathy and Stonecutter. We’re just waiting on a purchase order confirming an order for 500 cases of Boonies NZIPA for Ontario, so we need to brew that in November for shipping in December.

“There’s still heaps on the go. On the surface it seems quite negative but there’s lots of positive stuff going on.”

Brian says there has been no single factor leading to administration.

“There’s lots of issues that have contributed to this process. We sold about $30,000 of beer into the UK – about $20,000 of that sale got written-off for various reasons and a lot of the rest has been unpaid. That’s just one small thing that’s contributed to a greater problem.”

Renaissance has also beenlooking for a head brewersince March this year. It has produced many New Zealand craft brewers including Søren Eriksen (8 Wired), Jason Bathgate (McLeod’s), Matt Dainty (Boneface) and Dale Gould (Whistling Sisters). The flipside is its record for high staff turnover.


Founder, former head brewer, and former director Andy Deuchars has lived in Christchurch since 2015. In March Brian told Beertown.NZ that travel between Christchurch and Renaissance’s Blenheim brewery had become increasingly impractical after an earthquake smashed State Highway 1 (it’s still closed).

Andy has since taken up a brewing role at Christchurch’s Wigram Brewing. Andy resigned as a Renaissance director in June, but remains listed as a shareholder. Sales manager Scott Allen resigned last month.

300 shareholders joined the company in 2014 through two crowdfunding rounds. Brain says these investments are now at risk, as is his own 31% share.

‘Renaissance’ means ‘re-birth’, and other brewers have come back from worse. Last year North Islanders Mike’s Beer went into liquidation, a much deeper hole than administration. Today Mike’s continues brewing with the same owners after restructuring.

Brews News understands administrator Iain Shephard has a good reputation for saving troubled businesses. Brian, who established Renaissance with Andy Deuchars in 2004, remains optimistic.

“We’d already planned to do a rebranding, look at our range, and bring in new products that are exciting, appealing,” Thiel said.

“All those plans are still there. We ran out of cash, we ran out of time, but the administrator doesn’t want to see this brand die, and I think there’s a lot of people in New Zealand who feel the same way. I’ve put my heart and soul into this brand and I want to see it continue.”

“There have been expressions of interest. There’s people in New Zealand who see value in Renaissance, and everybody loves a bargain. We have to see what happens.”

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