Hop ‘n’ Vine hits town

4 Mates Brewshop owner Scott Whitaker, of Otatara.

YOU would think a title like 4 Mates Brewshop was pretty self explanatory.

Invercargill brewery owner Scott Whitaker says otherwise.

“It actually started with just me, and three other mates just drank the beer.”

The Otatara-based beer enthusiast was showcasing his brewing business and products store at the Hop Southland on Saturday.

His Covid-19 lockdown hobby turned into a fully-fledged home business shortly after, and locals were lining up to buy the products and taste the homegrown produce.

“It’s just run out of of the garage at home and we’re really well supported by the locals.”

Showcasing at the festival was a chance to encourage more people to get involved in homebrewing, he said.

Hop Vine co-organiser Kevin Downie, who started the event with his business partner Chris Montgomery, had lived in Invercargill for about 10 years and wanted to change the social scene.

“We were just two Invercargill boys who wanted more events in the town.

“None of the ones we knew excited us, so we decided to do it ourselves.”

About 1500 people came from throughout New Zealand to be a part of the big day.

Attendees could choose from more than 20 stalls offering about 100 different beers, as well as wine, cocktails and ginger beer.

Food stalls were scattered around the arena and a demonstration from celebrity chef James Smith, known as the tattooed butcher, had spectators hooked.

Mr Smith said he had tailored his demonstration to suit Southlanders and their food favourites.

With performances from a Latin flash mob to a comedian and plenty of live music, its fifth year was one to remember.