Dan Hagenaar and Mike Stringer of League of Brewers are moving into selling equipment to distil spirits. Photo: Charles Anderson.

League of Brewers conjures up the spirit world


Mike Stringer is on a mission to educate Nelson about the beauty of distilling one’s own whiskey.

Mike, who helped found the home beer brewing shop League of Brewers, reckons that soon spirits will go the same way as craft beer.

“We have this situation where craft distilling is becoming like brewing. It will become vogue – this is the next wave.”

So, League of Brewers plans on riding it by selling all the equipment needed to create homemade spirits.

Because of a law change in 1996, New Zealand is the only Western country where it’s legal to make your own spirits. You can’t get away with this sort of carry-on in Australia, the United States or Europe.

League of Brewers is based on Pascoe St, in Tahunanui, where spirit merchants Liquid Alchemy used to be.

“So maybe we have picked up some of their mana along the way,” Mike jokes.

But as part of that mission he is holding a whiskey night on Thursday at 5.30pm where people who are either sceptical or overwhelmed at the idea of making their own spirits can come and try some.

“What we are wanting to do is to have a range of these products made available for people to taste if they are deciding if they want to make something.”

But the most important question: does it taste any good?

“Absolutely. I’ve been really impressed. As long as the spirit you are working with is good quality then you have nothing to worry about.”

While a full distilling kit will set you back several hundred dollars Mike says in the long run it can be a very economical pastime.

“Especially if you like your whiskey.”