Golden horizon for Two Fingers Beer

Two Fingers brewer Lawrence Oldershaw

You could be forgiven for thinking British expat Lawrence Oldershaw was following in the footsteps of newly-listed Moa Beer.

But the Rotorua-based triathlon coach prefers to brew his own story.

Two months ago he launched his company Two Fingers Beer, and already supplies his first craft beer Alter Ego to nearly a dozen pubs and restaurants in Wellington, Hamilton and Rotorua.

Now he is about to add a second style to the mix – a Dodgy Archer summer ale.

Both beers won bronze awards at November’s Society of Beer Advocates National Homebrew Competition – even before the company was officially launched later the same month.

Mr Oldershaw says getting the beers into the pubs has not been easy and has involved a lot of leg work.

However, Wellington, which he calls "the craft beer capital", has been very receptive to his styles.

Mr Oldershaw has big plans for the company, starting next week, when he will drive to Auckland in an attempt to break into the beer market there.

“I don’t know if there’s resistance up in Auckland, but it doesn’t seem to have taken off in the way you might think it would. Hopefully, I’ll get some success there. Hopefully, they’ll be equally as accommodating up there as they are in Wellington,” he told NBR ONLINE.

He has another two beers planned, including a pilsner and a golden version of the Alter Ego as he wants to keep the brews as seasonal as he can.

But the company does not yet have its own brewery and instead relies on limited brewing time at Mata Beer in Kawerau.

Wants private investment

It is something Mr Oldershaw wants to change “sooner rather than later” and he will begin looking for private investment in the company to establish a new brewery, which he estimates will cost around $250,000 for the plant and equipment.

“I’d rather look at private investment. Hopefully, the investors would get involved and have a passion for beer and want to be part of it, rather than just an outside investor who’s not really bothered about the beer and only wants the return … not that you’d shirk any investor.

"But it would be nice to get an investor with a passion.”

Mr Oldershaw says he would be prepared to set up anywhere, but admits Wellington would be a good fit.

“Creating our own brewery will be the only way we can increase capacity.”

Although the 48-year-old former full-time triathlon coach has a similar story to Moa Beer, he says he was not spurred on by Moa's success.

Blenheim-based Moa brewery, which started in the back of Josh Scott’s family vineyard in 1987, now has offices in the US and Australia. Its ceo is founder of Vodka company 42 Below, Geoff Ross.

Moa listed on the NZX in November, having raised $16 million.

“I want to develop the beers I want to, and life’s too busy to get involved in what other people are doing. It is good to hear those sorts of stories, but I don’t think people would want too many repeats of the same story,” Mr Oldershaw says.

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

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