If you could invigorate your local economy by drinking beer, would you? I assume most of us realise that spending our dollars at locally-owned small businesses is good for our neighbours and communities, but assuming has often got me into trouble.
So why should you buy locally made products? I believe there are three main benefits to supporting local businesses, especially ones owned by people in your community: employment, quality, and taxes.
Employment: Local businesses are more likely to employ people who are family, friends, or acquaintances – and they are likely to employ more of them because they are not quite as efficient as bigger, well-established, companies.
Quality: Locally-made products tend to be labour-intensive rather than mass-produced, requiring employees to put in time with their hands. The attention to detail associated with small craft production usually means higher-quality products. Small-scale production means a business owner can be more agile in working out imperfections as well.
Tax: Small businesses often pay more in taxes and fees to a local governing body, which in turn are reinvested at the local level.
These are obviously generalisations that don’t always hold true, but they remind us why it’s good to keep our hard-earned cash flowing through local cycles, rather than being siphoned off into international coffers.
When I found a beer at my local liquor store was produced as a collaboration between two local businesses, I had to support it.
The Theoretical Brewer is a microbrewery based in Bell Block, New Plymouth. Brewer Douglas Eng – “a one-man band” – has a background in chemical engineering and brings a high level of scientific understanding to his craft. He makes an excellent line-up of beers, including his latest seasonal release: Marin Coffee Porter.
Marin is a light-roasted coffee from New Plymouth roaster Incafe, and full disclosure: I love Marin, it is my coffee of choice almost every morning.
Marin Coffee Porter is an exceptional beer, showcasing the kind of high-quality, locally-made craft goods we should support. Both Incafe and Theoretical Brewer make well-liked, quality consumables and I could not be happier with the way this collaboration turned out.
Eng has previously made a seasonal coffee porter using Ozone coffee, which went gangbusters at The Beer Spot in Auckland, where around two-thirds of the batch was sold, leaving the remainder for local consumption.
Despite its success, Eng knew he could improve on the style, and though Covid-19 thwarted his desire for another seasonal release in 2020, he implemented improvements for this 2021 offering. Adding a cold brew late in the fermentation allowed for maximum Marin flavour without any undesirable tannins or acidity; the result is a quaffable, balanced, nuanced porter, showcasing the coffee roast, without any residual bitterness in the aftertaste.
Eng’s brainchild is fully realised with this recipe, and as a weathered craft beer drinker, I couldn’t be happier to support two local craft businesses with one delicious consumable. It’s truly a great way for anybody to help invigorate their local economy.
Marin Coffee Porter bottles can be found at all three Liquorland’s in New Plymouth, and you can get flagons filled directly from the Theoretical Brewing tasting room. I recommend you snap it up while you can before the Aucklanders try to take the lion’s share.
But remember, good beer tends towards balance, and so should our local consumption.