Lakeman clinches 3 of the top 30

At Lakeman Brewing Co., we are thrilled to announce that three of our core beers have been honored in the Top 30 at the 2024 New World Beer and Cider Awards. This prestigious recognition underscores our commitment to brewing excellence and places our beers among the best in the country, providing consumers with confidence and excitement as they explore new craft beer styles and brands.

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From left the brewing team James Cooper, Laura Park, Manuel Benamo

“We were really surprised at the result. It was fantastic to back up the win with Primate Pilsner this year, but it was a little overwhelming for Big Hairy and Taupo Thunder to also be in the mix,”

–  James Cooper, owner of Lakeman Brewing Co.

The New World Beer and Cider Awards offer a unique opportunity for brewers like us to reach a broader audience. Winning a spot in the Top 30 awarded by a panel of independent expert judges means our beers will be available in supermarkets nationwide, allowing more people to enjoy our craft.

As Elissa Cooper, co-owner of Lakeman Brewing Co, notes, “We feel the New World Beer and Cider Awards is the hardest of the New Zealand awards to gain success at. It is all about getting your beer or cider into one of the Top 30 spots, which is pretty sought-after. Those winning brews then get distributed nationwide and it gives people a chance to try your product when they may not normally have access or the confidence to give it a go.”

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Primate Pilsner: A Champion’s Return

Our Primate Pilsner, a crowd favourite and the original in Lakeman’s lineup, has once again earned a spot in the Top 30, reaffirming its status as a standout brew. This beer previously clinched the supreme beer award at the 2023 NWBCA and continues to impress with its reliability and consistency.

“Last year’s champion beer returns for another round as the trophy winner in the Pilsner category. They’ve worked incredibly hard on perfecting this recipe, and it’s an encapsulation of everything a New Zealand-style pilsner should be: slightly sweet, slightly dank, a bit of diesel, some tropical fruit, and a grating of citrus zest.” – NWBCA Judges comments.

“The dedication of the Lakeman Brewing Co. team has paid off as three of their core beers earned positions in the Top 30 at the New World Beer and Cider Awards. Taupo-based Lakeman claimed two of the top three spots in the pale ale category, with last year’s champion beer returning as the trophy winner in the Pilsner category. This speaks to the reliability and consistency of their farm-based brewery in Taupo.”

– NWBCA Judges comments.

Big Hairy APA: The Original Contender

Our Big Hairy American Pale Ale, one of our core range beers, has been a staple since our first year of production. Winning our first gold medal at the Australian Beer Awards in 2016, this beer has been refined and perfected over the years.

“Big Hairy is their original brew from when they started out 11 years ago, and it’s been refined and tweaked over the years. The classic US hop aroma delivers citrus, diesel, and fresh-cut grass. The malt density creates sweetness to counter the big hops. The judges raved about the ‘well-rounded’ character, noting the way the fruity hops and delicate bitterness are interwoven with fresh malt character on a ‘big pillowy palate’. ‘Great beer. Would drink again,’ they said.” – NWBCA Judges comments.

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Taupo Thunder NZIPA: Born from Passion

Our Taupo Thunder NZIPA holds a special place in our hearts. From the early days of experimentation, it emerged as a testament to our perseverance and passion for brewing. Named after our beautiful hometown, it captures the essence of our journey and the rugged beauty of its origins.

“Taupo Thunder is a celebration of two distinctive New Zealand hops — Riwaka and Moutere — and delivers a distinctive sweet passionfruit aroma on the nose. That moves aside as grapefruit and pine characters take over on the palate. There’s a toffee-like malt character that amps up the sweet notes and allows the robust hop character to blend in seamlessly. The judges were rapt with the presentation and balance of this beer. ‘Presents well. Well-balanced, well-made beer. Very drinkable. I would be happy to finish two pints if I found it at a pub.'” – NWBCA Judges comments.

Despite what our accolades might suggest, Lakeman Brewing Co. operates with a small yet experienced team at our farm-based brewery. Our journey is rooted in a passion for crafting exceptional brews and caring for the environment and water source that form the foundation of our award-winning beer. Over the years, we’ve continuously refined our original recipes and developed new and unique beers seasonally, striving for brewing perfection.

The heart of our operation remains the same implement shed where it all began, though with some upgrades. What once had dirt floors and a few gates now houses our brew house with the capacity to produce 400,000 liters annually. Adjacent to it, a canning line operates in its dedicated room, ensuring our beer is packaged efficiently. From there, the cans are rolled into the chiller. With onsite packaging into kegs or cans and loading onto delivery trucks by the trusty John Deere, Lakeman beer travels straight from our backdoor to loyal local supermarkets nationwide.

“The team put a lot of effort in from brewing to packaging, and we thought they were tasting good, but you never know how they will stack up against everyone else’s beers as there are some great beers out there.” –  James Cooper, owner of Lakeman Brewing Co.

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