Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tui touches down in the motherland.

I’m back from playing at being the landed gentry. Let me tell you its pretty nice living how the other ½ live, and I suspect its somewhat less than ½. I had a fantastic time and managed to introduce the CEO of Te Mata Cheeses to Thomas Hardy’s Ale. He loved it although in line with his experience with wine immediately named it a ‘beer sticky’. On our way up we drove through the Wairarapapa. At Mangatainoka sits the Tui Brewery now part of the Dominion Breweries group. It became part of the national company in 1969 having been founded in 1889. Tui was a traditional Victorian brewery. It brewed real ale and was known for the quality of its IPA, Brown Ale and Stout. In the 1930’s a Tower brewery was built like the Victorian Towers of the century before. After WW2 the environment became very difficult for regional brewers and most were eaten up by either New Zealand Breweries (that is, Lion) or Dominion Breweries. This was the age of continuous fermentation, a process designed by Morton Coutts a New Zealander, which splits the fermentation process into two stages and allows wort to be constantly fed through the production line. When Tui was acquired instead of shutting it down a continuous fermentation system was installed to provide a base to take on the New Zealand Breweries Brewery in Wellington. All this results in the fact that a brewery that looks like a traditional gem is in fact a lager factory and the brand Tui IPA that was once an English style pale ale of some regard is now an industrial amber lager with some pretty serious flaws which stem from the yeast having been treated like slave labour So why have I wasted my time writing this?

Well it seems the two big New Zealand Breweries have decided its time to take on England, for the expat market , the English market or both. While Lion has exported their pub, DB have been getting some concerning good press for Tui IPA. In the latest Beers of the World magazine issue Jeff Evans of CAMRA Good Bottled Beer Guide fame gave Tui a 7.5 out of ten. Now, the site run by Roger Protz and Tom Cannanvan have offered a mix case beer club deal that is meant to include decent examples of different styles with Tui as its IPA example!!

For those of you who are lucky enough to have never tasted Tui, we aren’t talking Greene King IPA here, Tui makes that seem flawless and strictly to style, more we are talking Tetley’s Creamflow or John Smith’s Smooth but not as clean.

What the hell is going on ??!!


Stonch said...

Nothing ever gets less than about 7.5 in Beers of the World.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

While thats true Im very surprised with's in lnclusion of it, then again they also have Desperado in that mixed pack !!

Mister M said...

A bit late to be getting in on this I know, but what the hell.

I dropped Tom Cannavan a note about the inclusion of Tui in his case. The case contents were put together by the importer, so he didn't really have any input. Still a bit disappointed that they would put their name to that though.

Anonymous said...

It's not quite correct to say the case was put together by the importer and we "didn't really have any input" - and that's not what I told Mister M. The truth, and what I said, is that the case was put together by one supplier (logistically it would have been very difficult to do otherwise) who suggested a list of beers, all of which we had tasted and rated, and let us choose the contents of this case. Unfortunately the ONLY option for an IPA at the correct price point available was the TUI beer. We were faced with either taking it, or not having an IPA in a case meant to represent beer styles.

We knew Tui wasn't the best example by a looooong way, but then this is a case that also contained Coopers stout and sparkling, weltenburger Assam bock, Maisel's wheat, etc., etc offered at a cheap price (we don't make a penny on this) to introduce people to a variety of styles.

Tui may not be a great IPA it is true, but cut us a bit of slack would ya?


Tom C -

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Firstly Tom, on the whole I think what you do with Beer-pages is great.
However Tui isnt just not the best example, it isnt an IPA in any way or form, you would have been as close to IPA if you had included a bottle of Budweiser. Further more I think including a beer as far from style in a selection designed to introduce people to different styles has the potential spread misinformation.

anirab said...

Kieran, I couldn't agree more!


Geoff Griggs