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Feb 2015

New Kiwi Venture Taps into Growing Popularity of Craft Beer

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A New Zealand travel agency is offering a unique new tour opportunity to Kiwis. The six-night, hosted tour will see participants chance to taste 84 craft beers at the Oregon Brewers Festival.

courtesy David Wu, and is ‘Portland 2013, Craft Beer Tour, the team about to start a tasting at the Hopworks Urban BreweryA unique new tour being offered by an Auckland travel agent is set to take Kiwi craft beer lovers to the global hub of hops for a prestigious festival experience.

The six-night hosted tour to Portland, Oregon – a city with more breweries than any other in the world – is the brainchild of House of Travel Ellerslie Owner-Operator Glen Armstrong.

It will offer New Zealand craft beer enthusiasts the chance to sip and savour 84 crafty creations at the long-running Oregon Brewers Festival, as well as experiencing the gourmet food and coffee culture of Portland.

The tour is well-timed, as the rise of craft beer continues in New Zealand. Figures from September last year showed it was the fastest growing segment of the beer market here, with sales rising about 25% a year, while the volume of 5%-plus alcohol content beers (which tend to be craft brews) consumed was steadily rising*.

A keen home brewer himself, Armstrong says he believes it will be an experience of a lifetime for anyone who appreciates seriously hopped Pale Ales, IPA’s and Sours.  “It will certainly be a new experience for many people, a festival of this size, and the city itself is a great place to visit even without the beer side of things,” he says.

Scheduled for the final week of July to coincide with the festival, the tour will be hosted by renowned beer commentator Geoff Griggs, who recently received an Industry Achievement Award from the Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand.

“Having Geoff hosting the tour means not only will people be visiting somewhere that really values and celebrates beer, but doing so with one of the most knowledgeable guys in the country to talk about it,” says Armstrong.

A previous House of Travel Ellerslie beer tour to California in 2013 was a successful venture, says Armstrong, with a group of Kiwis meeting brewers and tasting beers “in the shadows of the breweries” on a two-week trip from San Francisco to Seattle.

“Craft beer is one of my passions in life, so it makes sense for me to arrange tours for others who are also passionate about it,” he explains, adding he’s particularly proud of a hoppy Saison style beer he brewed recently.

While the tour will likely appeal to plenty of fellow male craft beer aficionados, Armstrong says Portland also has much to offer for couples who are looking for a new travel experience to share together. “Portland is well known for its food and coffee offerings, and its ‘hipster’ culture,” he says.

For more information, see http://www.houseoftravel.co.nz/hot-stores/auckland/ellerslie or https://www.facebook.com/CraftBeerToursNZ

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Fleur Revell
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.
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