From the Ground Up
We are a 1200-litre production brewery based in Wanaka. Ground Up was inspired by our biggest obsession (after the beer), climbing and mountaineering, it also relates to how we run our business. Most of our beers are named after routes and climbs that we’ve either done or are on our ultimate tick list.
2015 – 2016
Who knows whether quitting your job to chase rainbows will work out, but we (Oli and Julian) had decided enough was enough, bored of the rope access game we put our life savings into building a tiny 100-litre brew system and workshop.
Coming from a background of climbing and mountaineering, we were used to pushing ourselves into the unknown, so it seemed almost normal to put ourselves in this ridiculous position. Ground Up was an obvious choice for the name.
We brewed 8000 litres in our first year, about 40 different recipes, and gained a cult following in Wanaka.
2016 – 2017
Working 8-day weeks, brewing 4 batches a day, and eating malt for breakfast had become normal by this point. No amount of sleep deprivation and stress would put us off.
Another 40 different recipes were born, winning the ‘people’s choice’ at the NZ IPA challenge, and brewing 18,000 litres (that’s a lot for a 100-litre brewery!).
We couldn’t supply the demand. It was time to grow.
2017 – 2018
Adding Neil (Julian’s Dad) to the team was an obvious choice, his skill set with the running of businesses and being an electrical engineer was something we needed when we decided to buy a brewery from Dunedin.
This Dunedin brewery had bought their kit 25 years previously from the Godfather of small independent brewing in New Zealand, the late Terry Mccashin. The kit had been neglected for a long time and we needed to bring her back to life.
After a whole year of upgrades and sleepless nights, we were finally brewing on our beautiful new kit. And it was obviously working, The first batch through our system, The KPA, has just won a bronze at the New World awards. That’s not bad for a couple of climbers who have taught themselves how to brew…
It was perfect timing to open an off-license to sell our beer from the front door. Little did we know how much the world would change over this time.
After long hours and more sleepless nights, our can-do attitude paid off when we opened our very own Taproom with 22 taps of our own brews. The doors opened with seating inside the brewery as well as a purpose-built deck.
In the theme of starting everything from the ground up our new food kitchen emerged at the end of 2022 serving awesome Tapas, Bar snacks, Burgers, and Pizzas. Great food to pair with our Great beers.