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Back on the Horse

Many of you know that our brewery in Eskdale was destroyed by Cyclone Gabrielle floodwaters, with the loss of all stock and equipment. The past few weeks have been the most difficult of our lives, and we are incredibly grateful for the love and support shown by Kiwis during the aftermath of the cyclone. Since then, we have spent a lot of time thinking about how we rebuild, and what the future looks like. Over the short term we are using contract brewing facilities in Auckland so we can continue getting Zeelandt beer to our customers. We love what we do and are committed to keep going!

Our first post cyclone brew is aptly titled “Back on the Horse”, and there’s a deeply personal story behind the name. Despite our community suffering large losses, Zeelandt is in a position to help. With the generosity of our suppliers we are launching a new beer with all proceeds (after excise tax and freight) going to local organisations involved in the emergency response. We are  It’s thanks to our suppliers that we can maximise the funds going back to the community.

Back on the Horse is a New Zealand IPA inspired by a small wooden horse that remained standing on our property after floodwaters receded. My father Les, built a wooden horse in the vege garden for my two children to play on. While the force of the floodwaters took away the sheds and cars that surrounded it, the horse remained. To me, this was a sign that the only way for us as a community to move on from this event was to get back on the horse.

Back On The Horse will be available in 440mL can cases on our website and at our regular outlets. All funds raised from the sale of this beer will go towards Bay View Volunteer Fire Brigade, Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter, and Bay View Community Charitable Trust.

A shout out goes to our suppliers:

  • Tried & True - Label design
  • Craft Brewing Co - Brewing
  • Gladfield Malt - Barley
  • NZ Hops - Hops and yeast
  • Crafty Canners - Packaging
  • Label & Litho - Label printing
  • Beer Fridge - Cold storage
  • Invisible Agency - Distribution and sales
  • Keg Star - Keg supply

We hope that beer drinkers will support Back on the Horse.

As for the long term, we have made the tough decision not to rebuild in Eskdale. Right now, there is too much uncertainty, both in relation to future zoning and we’re concerned about possible flooding events. It’s not something we want to repeat. 

Instead, we begin the exciting and positive journey to establish a brand new brewery in a brand new location. At this stage we’re not sure about the where and when, but we will update you when there is more news to share. In the meantime, Zeelandt Brewery continues on, albeit in a slightly different form thanks to the generous support of our industry colleagues.

Kia kaha Te Matau a Māui - Hawke’s Bay


Christopher Barber

Managing Director & Head Brewer, Zeelandt Brewery



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