It’s been a little over three years since Panhead started brewing. It seems longer doesn’t it? Yet in three years you guys have made us so damned successful we either try to control this growth thing or strap in and go to the next level. No prizes for guessing which way the decision went.
To make craft beer the new normal, to get it to a size and scale where anyone, anywhere can go down to Bottlestore Galactica and pick up a pack of primo hop juice at a price that won’t make their sphincters pucker, well that takes commitment. That’s why we’ve just made a very big call – from July 1 this year, Panhead Custom Ales will become part of the Lion Group.
A few of you are going to get the vapours over this we know, and maybe three years ago we might have laughed at the idea ourselves. But a lot has happened in that time. We know the big boys are taking craft seriously now. We’re delighted to see how Lion have handled their stewardship of Emerson’s and the positive experience that Richard has had. We’re glad to see Mac’s is making beer that hop addicts can drink.
Lion has been great throughout this process. It’s not that they’re buying up an annoying competitor – at our current volumes we’re no threat to them. They’re smart enough to see that the ground is shifting, and just as wine did 30 years ago, beer is growing up and moving out. Panhead can help them ride that change and ensure that beer in New Zealand heads in the right direction. And lest we forget, they’re also excellent technical brewers.
There’s another thing too. For three years Mike, Duane and the team have been working like Trojans. Now they’ll have some help. Mike will get to see Anna and the kids at home as well as at work and old school buddy Josh will come in as General Manager. Hell, we’ve never even had a General Manager.
Perhaps most importantly for you, our fans, is that Mike can give up engineering, accountancy and logistics and concentrate on writing recipes and brewing beer. Beer is what we care about and there’s absolutely no way the stuff you love is going to get blander, dumber, duller or saner. Supercharger, Port Road, Quickchange, The Vandal and Trekken will be as great as they ever were, and new specials will keep rolling out as long as there’s breath in our bodies. With Lion resources behind us we’ll have the grunt to get more beer to you fresher and in better condition than ever, wherever you are.
We’re pretty sure you guys will be debating this here and over a pint in the weeks ahead and we really hope you understand why we’re taking this huge step. Thank you for loving what we do and for helping make us what we are today. We’ll do our damnedest to repay that love and make New Zealand famous for something other than hobbits, footie and milk solids. Long live great beer.