8 Wired Brewing is up for sale. But fear not, there’s good reasons for it, with owners Soren and Monique Eriksen wanting a change of pace in their lives and to potentially travel, including spending time back in Soren’s native Denmark.

New Zealand’s champion brewery is based in Warkworth and produces almost 500,000 litres per year, and has Barrelworks, a bar and barrel room in nearby Matakana.

Eriksen said that after 15 years of hard graft, it was time for a change, but he is in no rush to sell the brewery, suggesting it could take up to a year to complete the sale and he is happy work alongside the new owners, or even retain a minority stake.

“While we’re proud of how far we’ve come, we’re also excited about the potential for new growth and innovation. That’s why we’re exploring the possibility of new ownership to bring in fresh energy and expertise to drive 8 Wired to the next level.

“From a family perspective, we’re excited about the prospect of exploring new endeavors, but we’re also deeply attached to the brewery and are committed to ensuring its continued success. Selling isn’t a decision we’re taking lightly, and we’re considering all options with care and consideration.”

8 Wired Brewing | NZ’s Champion Brewery for Sale! | LINK Business Brokers New Zealand

Eriksen told Pursuit of Hoppiness that the family were also thinking of going to Denmark to live for a year or two. His children — all born in New Zealand and aged 3 to 13 — have dual citizenship, but under Danish law children born abroad have to apply to retain their Danish citizenship before the age of 22.

So going back and learning the language would be an important factor if they were going to make that decision, he said.

“I don’t know how it works exactly, but they will have to show some kind of connection to Denmark and that will mean speaking the language. We’re not certain about doing that, it’s about having that option, as right now we just can’t pick up and leave.”

More importantly, Eriksen indicated that he and Monique needed a change after working together in the business for 15 years — and as many small business owners can attest, that means 15 years of being fully committed.

8 Wired for sale

“We’ve been doing it for 15 years and I’ve never done anything in my life for 15 years before, and after four years of Covid and post-Covid, and recession, it has taken a mental strain as well.

“And running a business with your spouse has its plusses and minuses but it can be stressful at times.”

Eriksen sees plenty of potential buyers, from brewers who might want to step up, or people who have run other small business and who “know the supermarket game and distribution”.

“I’m happy to stick around as long as needed, and train anyone to fill my shoes, and we’re also happy to retain a minority shareholding, and work behind the scenes as long as the new owner steers the ship.”

The taproom side of the business would also suit someone with hospitality experience.

“There’s a lot of scope to improve Barrelworks and make more of it, because we’re not hospo people — it’s all about the beer for us. So it could suit someone who knows how to run hospitality, or perhaps they already have a few venues in which case they can also sell the beer so there would be an immediate upside.

“But we’re not in any rush, we want to make sure it’s done right and goes to the right people.”

He also thought the time was right for some consolidation in the brewing industry, with potentially a contract brew brand taking it on and brewing their own beer alongside 8 Wired to maximise the brewery footprint.

“One thing’s for sure, there’s too much stainless steel under-utilised in New Zealand. If you take a birds-eye view of the industry there’s way too much stainless in terms of capacity.”

The main thing is that 8 Wired’s legacy continues.

“8 Wired is our life’s work and we want to pass it on to the right people that can take it to the next level, and we will do everything we can to ensure its success in the future.”

8 Wired is the second brewery to go on the market this year after Boneface in Upper Hutt.

Last year, Epic was sold to Hancock’s Wines and Spirits and The Russell Group after it went into liquidation.