GrAB SOME TAKEAWAYS

The cellar door stocks an ever-changing range of our beers, including the latest from the Workshop, and limited edition Brewer’s Reserves. Fill a flagon or rigger, or grab a bottle from the fridge.

BrEWErY TOUr

Get a behind the scenes look at our state-of- the-art 5000L brewery, and 1200L workshop. We take you through every step of the brew process, from the malt room, to the fermentation, bottling, and most importantly, tasting. Tours take around 45 minutes.
PH: 03 477 1812

CellAr door

On TAP THIS week

HISTOrY

MOST OF THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

BEFORE THE BEGINNING

The Emerson's story begins in ancient times, also known as the eighties. A young, impressionable Richard spent some time living in Edinburgh (sometimes referred to as the Dunedin of the north). He was fascinated by the culture – the pub culture that is – and soon took to it like a fish to water.

"HE CAME BACK FROM EDINBUrGH DETERMINED TO CHANGE OUR BEEr CULTUrE"

RICHARD’S MUM, INGRID

Richard sent a postcard to his Grandma, outlining his dream to one day own a brewpub.
Richard sent a postcard to his Grandma, outlining his dream to one day own a brewpub.

richard SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN HIS MOTHEr'S KITCHEN. HIS FAVOURITE THING TO COOK WAS BEEr.

Richard gets kicked out of the kitchen.
Richard gets kicked out of the kitchen.
In October 1992, The Emerson Brewing Co Ltd was established at 4 Grange Street, Dunedin.
In October 1992, The Emerson Brewing Co Ltd was established at 4 Grange Street, Dunedin.
BEG, BOrrOW AND STAINLESS STEEL

The first stage of Richard's great masterplan was a labour of love. He spent three months fitting out the brewery before it could open for business. He did most of the design, construction and decorating himself. Every dollar was precious. So, he borrowed, restored and repurposed, wherever he could. Even modifying dairy vats for the brewhouse. There was one thing he didn't do that year – pay himself.

Awards icon
NZ BREWERS FESTIVAL 1997

Supreme Champion Beer: Weissbier


AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL BEER AWARDS 1997

AIBA Trophy: Weissbier
Gold Medal: London Porter
Silver Medal: 1812

THE MOMENT OF TrUTH

After what seemed like an eternity to Richard, his first brew was ready to drink in January 1993. The London Porter was based on a recipe he picked up from a brewer buddy, while living in London. It was tested on the biochemistry department at Otago University, where Richard’s father George worked, and they gave it the thumbs up. To this day, it's still Emerson's flagship dark beer, although it's evolved a little over the years.

Richard's mum holding the first bottle of London Porter.
Richard's mum holding the first bottle of London Porter.

Despite being neither food or wine, Emerson's were invited to be pArt of the Dunedin Food & Wine Festival of 1994.

Richard hand bottling.
Richard hand bottling.
Nov 1994
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

2,000

LITrES

WINTER WARMER
Spiced Ale

The beer that evolved into Taieri George was brewed for the first time.

Mar 1995
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

3,000

LITrES

Richard samples Weissbier cultivated with yeast from Weihenstephan University.
Richard samples Weissbier cultivated with yeast from Weihenstephan University.
Awards icon
FOXTON BEER FESTIVAL 1995

Silver: London Porter
Bronze: Weissbier

PrIDE OF THE PLAINS
OrGANIC PILSNEr

Brewed for Biograins NZ, who saw a gap in the market for organic beers.

A WATCHFUL EYE

George Emerson kept dropping by the brewery. Most people thought he was just popping in to taste the beer, a few times a day. But he later admitted he was actually trying to keep Richard brewing, instead of consuming.

George & Richard Emerson.
George & Richard Emerson.
BOOKBINDER
Session Ale

Bookbinder was first brewed for the most rock 'n' roll event on the calendar – the 1996 Oamaru Victorian Fête. The original recipe was quickly scrawled on the back of an envelope. Richard had no idea it would become such a hit, becoming a real favourite in the Emerson's core range.

1812
India Pale Ale

Our iconic hoppy India Pale Ale was brewed for the first time in 1996.

MEETING A LEGEND

At the New Zealand Brewers Festival in 97, Richard was lucky enough to meet Michael Jackson (the esteemed beer writer, not the moonwalker). Jackson is credited with playing a big part in the emergence of craft brewing as we know it today, with his book 'The World Guide To Beer', and TV series 'The Beer Hunter'. He later wrote some kind words about Emerson's in the 1999 edition of 'Ultimate Beer'.

"HE MAKES THE BEST RANGE OF BEERS THAT I TASTED ON A RECENT TOUR IN HIS COUNTRY"

Michael Jackson

Awards icon
NZ BREWErS FESTIVAL 1997

Supreme Champion Beer: Weissbier


AUSTrALIAN INTErNATIONAL BEEr AWArDS 1997

AIBA Trophy: Weissbier
Gold Medal: London Porter
Silver Medal: 1812

Jan 1999
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

8,000

LITrES

BIG IN JAPAN

Emerson's started exporting to the Baa Baa Bar & Café in Japan. The beer was loved, which was a bit of a problem, because they started asking for "container loads". Needless to say, the arrangement came to an end.

40 WINKS
Spiced Ale

Winter Warmer was re-released with a new name, and bright yellow label featuring Fred Quilley from 'Hi-de-Hi'. The beer went down well, the label, not so much.

EMErSON'S BrEWErY 2.0

By the turn of the century, the brewery was overflowing (not literally). It was proving hard to keep up with demand for existing beers, not to mention the new ideas fermenting in Richard's mind. It was time for a big move. So, in May, the lease was signed on the building across the road – 9 Grange Street. In true Emerson style, Richard spent his days brewing at number 4 and his evenings renovating at number 9. The new brewery was officially opened by Peter Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Dunedin North in November 2000.

The brewery at 9 Grange St.
The brewery at 9 Grange St.
Brewhouse number 2.
Brewhouse number 2.
TAIErI GEOrGE
Spiced Ale

In March of 2002, Richard's father George passed away. One year later, in memory of his father, Richard brewed Taieri George (a recipe he knew his Dad liked). The beer is still released every year on George's birthday, so we can all raise a glass in his honour.

Jan 2003
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

14,000

LITrES

ON THE MOVE AGAIN

By the end of 2003, it was clear that yet another move was required. After scouring Dunedin for almost a year, Richard found his new site at 14 Wickliffe Street. A whole 700m away.

In January 2005, Richard commissioned the building of his new 5,000 litre brewhouse.
In January 2005, Richard commissioned the building of his new 5,000 litre brewhouse.
OPENING PARTY BY THE NUMBERS

1 mayor officiating
2 days partying
7 bands playing
700L beer consumed

Oct 2006
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

28,500

LITrES

In lAte 2006, Chris O'LeArY mAde the move south from Limburg Brewing Co. to Dunedin to become officiAl Piss-tAker of RichArd. He Also stArted looking After production.

JP
BELGIAN

Friend of Emerson's, and Head of Food & Science at Otago Uni, JP Dufour passed away suddenly while in Ghana. Richard honoured him with the JP Belgian, which is still brewed every year in his memory.

BrEWEr'S rESErVE

Richard wanted more opportunities to experiment with different beers, without distracting from the core range. So, in 2008, Brewer's Reserve was introduced. Since then, not only have we had a lot of fun trying a wide variety of flavours and styles, a number of brews have become firm favourites.

Awards icon
BrEWNZ AWArDS 2009

Champion Brewery

Awards icon
BREWNZ AWARDS 2011

Trophy Winner: Regional Best Bitter (colab with Regional Wines & Spirits)

A NEW ERA

Lion purchased Emerson's in 2012. They kept Richard as Head Brewer, and vowed to keep the brewery in its hometown of Dunedin.

Awards icon
BrEWNZ AWArDS 2013

Trophy Winner: Dinner Bell

THE DREAM COMES TRUE

In October 2014, land was purchased on Anzac Avenue to build a brewery and taproom. It's something Richard had been dreaming of for almost thirty years. And now, thanks to Lion's investment, it was coming to life right here in Dunedin. Construction began in July 2015.

The new Anzac Avenue site. Richard's love of trains had nothing to do with the choice of location.
The new Anzac Avenue site. Richard's love of trains had nothing to do with the choice of location.
The new Emerson's Taproom & Brewery was officially opened in June 2016.
The new Emerson's Taproom & Brewery was officially opened in June 2016.
The labels get an update. Richard still looks the same.
The labels get an update. Richard still looks the same.
For the first time, smaller 330ml bottles were released in a six-pack.
For the first time, smaller 330ml bottles were released in a six-pack.
Richard with his Mini Bar.
Richard with his Mini Bar.
MINI BAr

In the early days of the brewery, Richard used his old Mini to deliver beer. In February 2016 he decided it was high time he had another one. So he went on a mission to Wellington, bought one, and drove it all the way back to Dunedin. Of course, he made a few modifications, and now calls it the "Mini Bar".

May 2017
MONTHLY SALES SUrPASS

200,000

LITrES

BEER WITH US

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