Pioneering craft beer brew house for sale

5:00 AM Saturday November 12, 2016 True Commercial

An aerial view of Roosters which was among a handful of ground-breaking craft breweries.

One of the New Zealand’s pioneering craft beer brew houses is for sale.

Roosters Brew House was established at 1470 Omahu Rd, Hastings, in 1994.

The Hawkes Bay establishment was among a handful of ground-breaking craft breweries operated with on and off-premise licences, which allowed flagons to be taken home by customers.

Roosters Brew House ranked alongside such brewing/drinking institutions as Galbraith’s Alehouse and the Shakespeare Tavern in Auckland; the now defunct Loaded Hogg chain; the Mussel Inn at Onekaka in Golden Bay and the Dux de Lux in Christchurch.

Years ago Roosters launched one of the highest alcohol-content craft beers then made in New Zealand — the seven percent Haymaker lager-style — which is still among the brand’s offerings. However, after some 22 years of family ownership under the management of Chris Harrison and his wife Jill, the freehold land, buildings, and Roosters Brew House business are being marketed for sale by Bayleys Napier — with the sale period closing on November 25.

The listing features in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine out now.

Bayleys Napier salesperson Rollo Vavasour says the industrial-zoned property, at 1470 Omahu Rd, holds both on-premise and off-premise licences, allowing it to operate as a bar/restaurant and serve takeaway ‘pub pets’.

Rooster’s 399sq m building sits on a 1236sq m corner location.

ROOSTERS Outside.jpg

Roosters Brew House was established at 1470 Omahu Rd, Hastings, in 1994.

There’s on-site parking for 10 vehicles, with additional street parking on its two street frontages.

The internal bar and kitchen area encompasses 86sq m, with an additional 52sq m of covered walkway, and a rustic-themed 220sq m outdoor garden bar area. In total, the premises is licensed to serve 100 patrons.

It is permitted to operate until late seven days-a-week, with opportunity to apply for late-licence extensions for private functions and special events such as German-style ‘bier fests’.

Business assets include the mash tun, fermenter, hot water cylinder with separate kettle, heat exchanger, pumps, filter, 32 conditioning and storage tanks all in a refrigerated cool room, with more than 100 kegs on rotation. Kitchen assets include a commercial-grade oven and hob, refrigeration units, dishwashing equipment, and full range of crockery and cutlery.

Vavasour says while the operation had brewing capacity to produce 6000 litres of beer weekly, current sales are only tracking at just over half that level. “With the rise in popularity of New Zealand craft beer over the past decade, supermarkets and liquor retailers are stocking more ‘boutique’ beers in competition with the three mainstream breweries. There’s a big opportunity for Roosters to launch off its established local reputation into that retail market,” Vavasour says.

“While that may initially be on a regional basis, just in Hawke’s Bay, there’s no reason why the Roosters brand can’t emulate the expansion results achieved by the Bay’s two other craft breweries — Zeelandt and Hawkes Bay Independent Brewery.

“Conveniently, there is a contract winery bottling plant immediately across the road, which has the ability and capacity to take on bottling for a brewery.”

Roosters currently produces six beers — a dark, a lager, a strong lager, a draught, a wheat beer, and an Indian pale ale. An additional specialty style is produced every three months. A Roosters’ non-alcoholic ginger beer is also produced.

ROOSTERS Internal.jpg (1)


Roosters has an internal bar and kitchen, plus a garden bar and is  licensed to serve 100 patrons.

Vavasour sees much potential to raise food sales within the business, which relies heavily on clientele from the surrounding industrial estate during the day and after immediately work, along with passing trade heading home in the early evening.

“Under its current management structure, Roosters’ owners have focused on beverage sales due to the brand’s deserved reputation as a craft beer outlet, with food as an adjunct to that.

“With a different approach to food under the guise of say a modern gastro pub, the percentage of food sales could quite easily be grown,” he says. “With the right marketing, Roosters could easily become a destination gastro-bar venue for that night trade.

The scale of Roosters’ business — still very much at the ‘boutique’ end of the market — would ideally suit a skilled home-brewer ready to take the next step up their beer production ladder.

Vavasour suggests a shared-skillset ownership model: “The business could be bought by the likes of a partnership, with one party concentrating on the beverage production and distribution of the Roosters beers and the other focusing on the food and hospitality operations.”