Four young Kāpiti entrepreneurs have gone into business and plan to brew their way to better lives.
Brother and sister Nathan and Janie Martin, Cameron Stichbury and Neville Pugh are members of The Independence Collective, which is managed by IHC ideas man Gordon Cumming.
In collaboration with local award-winning brewer George Duncan, the four have crafted a unique pale ale, Neville, a blend of New Zealand and American hops with a hint of citrus.
The four have been selling the beer since October 2018 and it has been a hit with local bars and cafés. “We are pretty much in every bar and café in Kāpiti,” says Janie. Neville Pugh has the sales pitch down pat: “When you purchase a bottle of our beer, you are not only getting a great-tasting pale ale, you are also helping us, and many others, gain their financial independence.”
Gordon says brewing and selling beer is not all they plan to do. The Collective has plans to develop the business model to include other products and services all under the one brand. Their goal is to expand throughout New Zealand to ‘brew better lives’ for as many people as possible.
“We see this as a game changer for individuals with disabilities and are really excited about the potential and positive impact it will have for many individuals throughout New Zealand.”
It’s been 12 months of hard work for the Collective members – learning the brewing process and gaining the confidence to get out there and sell. It has also been a year of amazing experiences, including media interviews, photo opportunities with politicians and reaching their goal of presenting their pale ale at Beervana 2019.
Going into business has been a huge boost for Janie and the team and she is keen to work on marketing. Janie had spent two years taking her CV around employers. “I was struggling to get work. It was affecting me,” Janie says. But that’s changed. “Now I have something I enjoy.”
Their biggest marketing advantage is their back story. A story of trying hard to find work, then realising they could back themselves to be winners.
IHC is also backing them to be winners and supporting their choice to go into business. Gordon, who first came up with the idea to brew craft beer, has been seconded from his usual role as Service Manager for IDEA Services to manage the Independence Collective.
At Beervana 2019 they unveiled their new brand, Change Maker, which says everything about their mission. The response from the beer-drinking public was “really positive” says Janie. “Everybody we spoke to loved it.” They are now in negotiations with three more breweries and are working on a distribution deal that will see their beer on supermarket shelves nationwide in early 2020.
Photo caption: Cameron Stichbury (left), Neville Pugh and Janie Martin are positive about their future as the Independence Collective. Photograph: Stuff / Dominion Post
This story was published in Community Moves. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.