The power couple that is Garage Project and Royalburn Station have released their collab brew Swifty in packaged format.

Nadia Lim and her husband Carlos Bagrie bought Wanaka’s Royalburn Station in 2019 after selling their stake in My Food Bag and their life on the farm is the subject of a reality TV show called Nadia’s Farm.

Swifty, named for the Swiftburn stream on the property, is out now in Liqourland stores nationwide and soon to be in select New World stores.

I think Swifty could turn out to be a big-seller — and it’s as much to do with its provenance as its flavour.

Lim’s status as a Masterchef winner, cookbook writer, reality TV star, magazine cover favourite … in short, given the fact she’s a household name and given the fact that Garage Project are arguably the biggest name in craft beer, this has all the makings of a product that can take-off.

Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell acknowledged the impact the current season of Nadia’s Farm (you can stream it on Three Now) will have on the beer.

“We have high hopes for the beer — we think there’s a great opportunity for it. The story of it is being woven into the second season of Nadia’s Farm so you’ll see a lot of it there,” Ruffell said.

“We’ll be pulling the trigger on promotion and making noise about it next week and about a month later we’ll see it popping up in select New Worlds.

“In terms of the collaborations we’ve done, in some ways, it’s been one of the most enjoyable because it’s just nice to have a partnership based around the main ingredient in beer.

“We’ve gone very deep in terms of hops and getting as close as we can to the source and that led to the creation of Hāpi Research and our investment Nelson Lakes Hops and it feels like we’re there on that front.

“Malt is the body of the beer and we obviously grow fantastic malt here in New Zealand but I think what Carlos and Nadia are doing on their farm is pretty special.

Carlos Bagrie enjoys a Swifty during the 2024 barley harvest.

“Barley grown on the Crown Terrace has always had a strong reputation and they’ve got newspaper clippings about it from the 1890s — they were one of the first farms to supply Speight’s with barley in the 19th century.

“And their farming approach, based around regenerative agriculture and spray-free, produces beautiful barley.”

With Garage Project best know for more outlandish beers, Ruffell said it took a couple of trial batches before they realised they need to pare it back and make the malt the star.

“When it came to brewing the beer, we looked at all sorts of styles and did a few trial batches but in the end, we kept coming back to the idea of doing a beer that’s a nod to New Zealand draught, a simple beer to be enjoyed at the end of a long, hard day.

“It’s been my go-to beer over summer. There’s something about it — it’s very refreshing, it’s easy to drink, it has an incredible head and head retention because of the protein in the malt.

“When you smell it’s got a bit of nostalgia to it — there’s hops there but just enough to keep it interesting.”

Ruffell said he took a few slabs of cans down to the Nelson region for hop harvest and “lots of overseas brewers were really enjoying it”.

The other thing Garage Project are doing to increase the reach, is pricing it under $20 which puts it in the mainstream craft space dominated by Mac’s, Monteith’s and Boundary Road.

“We’re doing everything we can to set this up for success and the price point is a big part of that. We’re launching it at $18.99 for a six-pack but it will be on a rotating, on-and-off, special of $16.99.

“The real success will be if we can kick it up to a 12-pack to be a fridge filler box.”