Wellington’s JuiceHead brewery is closing “for the foreseeable future” as the cost of doing business bites.

It’s the second brewery in recent weeks to announce it was closing after Dunedin’s New New New went up for sale.

JuiceHead posted on social media: “As all of you are no doubt aware, the last two and a half years have been a very tumultuous time for this big ol’ ball of dirt that we all live on. “Covid” this, “cost of living” that… remember that massive boat that got stuck in the Suez canal last year? We can all agree it’s been a lowkey shitshow for the planet all round.”

The business was founded by Sam Graham, Ciaran Duffy, Emma Brown and Calum Wallace in 2015 and their beers were contract-brewed at Kereru in Upper Hutt.

Juicehead team
The JuiceHead team: Emma Brown, Calum Wallace (top middle), Sam Graham and Ciaran Duffy.

“The decision to wrap up this company is arguably one the hardest decisions that we have collectively had to make in our lives,” the owners wrote. “We won’t bore you with the details of increasing raw material costs, unprecedented excise tax hikes, and continental CO2 shortages (to name a few fun facts!). Weighing up the future of JuiceHead in this impending climate, we’ve decided that going out with a bang, with everyone still smiling and heads held high is the route that we’ve decided to take. This decision is one that we as a team stand by, unanimously and unwavering.

“We’re proud of everyone who we’ve worked alongside throughout this whole fiasco to Keep Calm And Carry On despite setback after setback. We’re also proud of our small but mighty team and what we’ve managed to achieve when the deck is rigged so mercilessly against us all. The niche that we’ve managed to carve out for ourselves in this innovative, collaborative, wild-west industry of craft beer is something that we as a team will always be shamelessly stoked with.

Juicehead logo

“Starting off JuiceHead as a bunch of pint-slinging scumbags, the intention was, and always has been `make the beers that we want to make, on our own terms, and have a fucking good time while we’re at it’. It is undeniable that turning a hobby into a career is a pretty sweet thing to do. It’s even sweeter when you’re able to pursue that dream alongside some of your best mates. We knew from the start that we were never going to take over the world; that isn’t to say that we didn’t have a bloody good crack at trying!

“But it was never about selling our souls to make stacks of cash at any cost. It was always about being your own boss, doing what we wanted to do, taking the business in the direction that we wanted to take it, and answering to no one. It’s about putting in the hard yards and long hours because we want to, not because someone else said so. It’s also about recognising that you’re a person with passion and drive and energy first and foremost, and that work should be something that you love, not just something that you do between today and retirement.”

The brand will have a farewell sale of beer via Beer Hug and their webstore.

They finished by saying: “That doesn’t mean that the JuiceHead name is dead forever. We’re definitely not promising anything, but who knows, maybe taking a step back and gaining some clarity might yield something new and fun in the years to come? In the immortal words of Simon Pegg in Sean of the Dead, sometimes you’ve just got to ‘go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over’.”