After 18 years in Blenheim, Renaissance Brewing is moving to Christchurch and will be joined there by other Brandhouse-owned brands 1Up and Funk Estate.

The brands will all be produced at Wigram Brewing in Christchurch but will be packaged 200m down the road at a Brandhouse distribution centre and distillery.

Jason Dellaca of Brandhouse confirmed the move to Pursuit of Hoppiness, saying there were multiple reasons for the decision including:

  • The brewing operation had outgrown the space;
  • The cost of freight in and out of Blenheim had become too expensive; and
  • The lease on the Dodson St, Blenheim, facility was up for renewal in March.

The brewery also produces the Social range of RTDs.

Dellaca said head brewer Sean Moss would relocate to Christchurch but other staff had decided not to move.

Some of the brew kit will trek south and the move will start in October.

“The main reason we’re doing it is because we’ve outgrown the facility in Blenheim from a packaging point of view,” Dellaca said.

“We have Renaissance, Funk Estate and 1Up, as well as Social RTD, and we’re about to start doing Funk Estate Cider and Funk Estate RTDs.

“We were falling over ourselves trying to package. We couldn’t use the canning line at the same time as the bottling line.

“We had some thoughts on upscaling and looked at bigger buildings in Blenheim, but the cost of freight has become significant. Just moving stock from Blenheim to our distribution centre in Christchurch was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.”

They can share brew space at Wigram as that facility is large enough to handle it and Brandhouse will invest in new equipment and technology to make things more efficient.

“Wigram have large facility, with of lots of chiller areas — you can brew a lot of beer out of there. Packaging will be done in our distillery just 200m down the road.”

KJ Distillery makes a range of spirits including Last Minute gin which Dellaca said had grown at a phenomenal rate.

“As a result, we have invested quite heavily in equipment for spirits, so we have capacity in the distillery team for packaging.”

There may be some shared resource with Wigram such as a cellar-hand or assistant brewer.

“There are good reasons we’re doing this, but it’s a shame to take brand out of Blenheim where it was born in 2005.”

For the Funk Estate brand it will be the fifth home after Wellington, Auckland, Tauranga and Blenheim.