Cassels Brewing logo
Cassels Brewing logo

Cassels Bottles hit the Nation!

Feature published in the Kia Ora Magazine, December 2017.


MAYBE THEY WERE bored. Maybe they were drinking too much beer. Or maybe Alasdair Cassels wanted to teach the younger men in his family a bit of a life lesson. No one seems to agree exactly how it started. But they do agree that it began during the Christmas holidays of 2008-09 at the family bach in the Marlborough Sounds. Alasdair Cassels fired up the old Rayburn wood-burning stove, and showed son Zak and son-in-law Joe Shanks his beer-brewing skills.

They tasted the first hoppy pilsner they’d brewed. “We impressed the hell out of ourselves,” says Zak.
Less than a year later, in September 2009, they built a wood-fired brewery in the old tannery buildings in Woolston, Christchurch, and Cassels & Sons Brewery Co began providing craft beer to a thirsty public.

“I’d been a home brewer in the 1960s,” says Alasdair, “I used to brew on an old wood-fired stove. I’d crush [the malt] with a marble rolling pin and brew 20 litres at a time.” While old-fashioned wood-fired kettle brewing was the unique feature of the Cassels’ craft beer in the early days, today Cassels & Sons is a slick operation – albeit one with a strong family ethos – that includes a world-class brewery and team, as well as its own brew-pub, ‘The Brewery’. The Cassels have even transformed their old tannery home base into ‘The Tannery’, a heritage-focused Victorian arcade of boutique fashion stores, restaurants and, of course, bars serving the very best craft beer.

After being one of the South Island’s best-kept secrets, Cassels & Sons real ales and keg beers are on their way north with a core range that features Cassels & Sons’ famous Milk Stout, Extra Pale Ale, Red IPA and Golden Age. North Island craft beer fans are in for a treat with Golden Age, a light, refreshing summer ale overflowing with character – perfect for sessions – while the Red IPA is rich and vibrant, offering specialty malts with serious complexity. What began as a humble craft brew on a summer day down south, Cassels & Sons is now quenching summer thirsts nationwide. 

Now available in the North Island at selected supermarkets and liquor stores, with tap beer flowing at good pubs – keep an eye out for it!

The Kettle at Cassels Brewery in Christchurch
Craft beer production at Cassels Brewing in Christchurch