Ted Verrity, long time champion of New Zealand craft beer, died in the early hours of 1 January 2024, aged 84. It was a sad day for many who have been involved in New Zealand’s beer scene over the years, with Ted one of the biggest fans of beer I have ever met.
Ted, born Edward Cressey in Hull, England in 1939, was brought up by his aunt and uncle and chose to take their name. Shortly after moving to New Zealand as a young man, he met Frances – his soulmate – in 1963 at the Wellington Magistrates Court where he was working as a Miscellaneous Clerk. Ted and Frances were married for more than 50 years. Ted enjoyed art, rugby, was a loyal fan of Hull City football club, and loved to travel with Frances. She died on their last trip together to England in 2015.
But most reading this will know Ted for his passion for beer. That began in the 1970s on a trip back to England, where CAMRA had recently begun as a champion for Real Ale. It wasn’t until the 1980s and the opening of Mac’s brewery though, that Ted could find enjoyable beer back here.
Ted enjoyed all sorts of beer styles, and dictated meticulous tasting notes to Frances – a wine drinker – over many years. Traditional English styles were his favourites, particularly those served on a hand pump, and he is the only person I’ve met who enjoyed a dark mild as much as I do. His passion helped New Zealand’s beer community grow to what it is today, encouraging brewers and fellow beer enthusiasts alike.
Ted and Frances were lovingly known as the Royal Couple of craft beer. Both were heavily involved in the Brewers Guild of New Zealand and the (recently wound-up) Society of Beer Advocates, and were awarded honours by both organisations for their immense support of the craft beer sector over the decades.
Ted will be sorely missed. His memorial will be held at LBQ in Wellington on Sunday, January 21. Donations can be made to Mary Potter Hospice or the SPCA in the names of Ted and Frances Verrity.