I look back on the growth of SOBA over last few years and feel proud of the contribution that the organisation has made in assisting with the exciting expansion of the craft beer industry within New Zealand. The last few months in particular have resulted in a high level of media exposure, most notably from John Campbell and Radio New Zealand, which I personally feel needs to be capitalised on by the incoming Executive.
Whilst I have taken a step down, I am excited by the format of the new team, as featured opposite, especially with the appointment of Rob Owen as our new President. Rob is sure to inject new dynamism through his entrepreneurial spirit and will be able to provide a totally impartial view on key topics, avoiding any potential conflicts of interest that may have hampered decision making, had he been involved directly with the beer industry.
I offer a very special welcome to Kate Jordan, who not only replaces me on the Executive, but will also be applying her undoubted skills and knowledge to develop this Newsletter further. In addition, Kate becomes the first ever female member of the Executive, adding an important and excellent balance to the team and she will also ensure a geographical representation for the Auckland region, with the resignation of good friend Martin Bridges.
Even with the inexorable advance of social media, I still feel there is room in the marketplace for a hardcopy publication that can deliver punchy, topical and informative reporting about good beer and great bars and I urge you to support Kate in providing her with your news and views from all corners of Aotearoa and further afield.
Despite the recent proliferation of craft beer outlets in the major metropolitan areas, there is much to be done in offering a choice for the discerning drinker in the provinces. The heavy handed tactics used by the ‘big two’, in locking out competition via exclusive legal agreements with their tenants, needs exposing and those new to the trade should be given guidance and advice on the potential availability of alternative products and services.
I left the SOBA AGM with a heavy heart, not through my resignation, but as a result of the overwhelming vote by the membership to accept the motion to discontinue SOBA’s legal battle over the Radler trademark. For me personally, I felt the campaign had further to run, despite the threat of financial crisis, should an appeal have proved unsuccessful. You can read more about the decision and a range of public comments on the opposite page.
My new found spare time in the future will hopefully enable me to complete my tour around each of New Zealand’s craft brewers, a la Luke Nicholas, without the video. With currently only 15 to go, I remain reasonably confident, but the recent surge in new players has widened the goalposts somewhat!
Meantime, I hope you enjoy this edition of TPOH and continue to support SOBA in attempting to achieve its goals throughout the coming years.
Nick Page, Editor