Born in 1979 and raised in suburban Wellington, I’ve mostly lived here in the City, with a few years each in Canberra and Melbourne. I’ve spent too-many years at University, coming away with two degrees I don’t really use (at least directly and/or daily) and have worked as a bartender for a decade-and-counting (all told) partially to avoid having to deal with Mornings. For a few years, I gave up full-time bartending and took on a somewhat-indeterminate role in a local brewery for a change of pace within the same scene. I’m a Mongrel Cosmopolitan, and a multiply-domained geek. Despite being pretty-much genetically nocturnal, I’m lately finding an ability to enjoy the summer and the outdoors — particularly if there’s a good old-fashioned road-trip in the offing.
In addition to the historical stuff that follows, I did a little end-of-year rundown on who I worked for in 2015-2016 here. I’m also in the habit of noting beers that I didn’t personally pay for in my Untappd feed, as I drink them.
As quickly becomes obvious from reading the site (for example: this Diary entry, and conspicuously-recurring glassware and backgrounds in very many photos), I worked for a long time (July 2008 to April 2012) at the Malthouse, a beer bar in Central Wellington. The Malthouse had (and still has) substantial ownership in common with Tuatara Brewery, for whom I also ran a few in-store tastings. For a good while I kinda-sorta owned a single share in the West Coast Brewing Company, purchased for 31¢ from a friend who was going in for a more normal-sized investment and insisted that I (as resident Beer Nerd) join in — though it’s since vanished in the course of their liquidation and shareholder-shafting re-establishment. I worked one shift at Bar Edward (to help out for a very-busy Newtown Fair) and did the photography for the website of their sibling, the Hop Garden.
After I left Malthouse, I wound up as a sort of roster-filling backup-bartender at Hashigo Zake and soon surprised myself with a “day job” (such as it mostly was) at the Garage Project brewery — seeing (and, hopefully, helping) the place go from a 50L brewery, through two upgrades to putting down 2,000L batches several times a day and increasing their output tenfold in three short years. Over my time there, I did a bit of everything, but eventually settled into a distribution / logistics role until I left in February 2015. These days, I work several shifts a week behind the bar at Golding’s Free Dive — which has a manager / minor shareholder in the form of Dylan Jauslin, also a comrade of mine in the freelance beer-rambling world — ramping up from the roster-filling I did while at the Garage, and also regularly co-host beer tastings for Craft Beer College. I’ve also done a little work for ParrotDog, helping them blurb some special-release beers. In terms of associations rather than employments, I’m a paid-up member of SOBA and of the Brewers’ Guild, both to support (and keep informed of) their activities, rather than in any executive capacity. Obviously-commercial relationships aside, through my work and otherwise, I’m also on friendly terms with a good swag of local brewers, bartenders and bar owners; it’s a very civilised and supportive industry to work in — even when you’re a part-time ‘critic’ of some vague kind.
But, as any one of my employers, acquaintances or friends will attest, none of this is likely to soften my criticism of anyone or anything. I’m usefully insubordinate and impolite, in that way. These disclosures of potential conflicts are more for the sake of completeness, and in the hopes that other people — more firmly entrenched in the beer-commentary world, and with much-stronger conflicts — might get in the habit of disclosing theirs.