On Queenstown’s picturesque Frankton Marina, you’ll find beer institution Altitude Brewing. It’s been a cracker of a year and they’ve been kept busy as they expand the brew team, celebrate a decade of business and continue to create award-winning beers. They’re ramping up for a big summer and will continue to keep the quality of their beer at the forefront of their mind.

At the start of December, Altitude celebrated their 10th Birthday with a shindig at the taproom. It marked a milestone for founder and director, Eliott Menzies, who started the business in 2013 before partnering up with Eddie Gapper in 2015. In 2018 the scenic taproom was built, which boasts breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains and is conveniently situated on the Frankton Track – the perfect place for a pint.

“I got into it for no other reason than I loved making beer and it was good fun,” Menzies says. “It grew into this viable business and my ethos has always been about organic growth. Demand was there but I didn’t like to push it too hard because I didn’t have big money backers or anything like that, it was more just where I had the money to invest in my brewery and my brewing career. Since then I’ve been on this mission to make the best beer in our region – we really want to do that and make sure that we’re representing Queenstown with the best possible beer.”  

Since the early days of 2013, the brewery has continued to expand. Earlier in the year, Menzies took a sidestep from the brewery into a production management role. Dan Jaffe took up the reigns of head brewer and Rob Garrett, previously of Three Sisters, jumped into the lead brewer role.

“The main reason we made the change in the team structure was because I think it allows an improvement in quality of the product we’re producing. It allows people to focus a bit more on individual roles, rather than doing everything at once.”

Despite current craft beer trends, Altitude is producing more beer than ever – their production is up around 30% on last year and they’re sitting on just under 300,000 litres of total volume per annum. After recognising that the biggest cost to their business is outsourcing canning and brewing, which they need to do to meet production demands, they’ve purchased some new equipment for the new year.


They also wrapped up 2023 with a one-of-a-kind beer box with Beer Hug. The terroir experiment includes several twin beers, brewed with the same hops which were grown in different locations across New Zealand. The collaboration with Freestyle Hops Nelson and Garston Hops Southland aims to showcase how soil, topography and climate can impact the hop experience; not unlike winemakers and their grapes. There are six different beers in the box of 12, so you can try the paired beers together and evaluate the unique flavours.

“We like supporting Garston Hops and the quality of hops that they’re starting to make are great. We really just wanted to put them side-by-side in a format where we can evaluate them better, rather than just rubbing them side-by-side. We want to actually use exactly the same techniques so that the finished beers are representative of each of the regions, for example one from Nelson and one from Garston,” Menzies says.

Over summer Altitude will be coming out with Window of Opportunity, an elderflower and cucumber seasonal sour, a hazy IPA with freestyle trial hops, and an international collab for hop harvest. Rounding off the season, they’ll also have their annual Fresh Hop Festival. To stay up to date with Altitude’s latest brews and all that’s going on, you can head to facebook.com/altitudebrewingnz