Cassels Brewing Co. has a reputation for brewing one of the top stouts in the world. Like many craft breweries, this award-winning brewery takes its role in being a community centerpiece to heart.
The Christchurch, New Zealand brewery started in 2009 with a homemade wood-fired brewing system. For the next two years, it grew and generated buzz throughout the beer world. Then the 2011 Christchurch earthquake jolted the city—and the brewery.
Cassels knew the shaken community needed some good news, so they expedited the redesign of a new brewpub in Christchurch, which would also serve as music venue. Cassels The Brewery Bar & Restaurant opened less than four months after the earthquake.
“Breweries make communities,” says co-owner Zak Cassels. “We were able to give people a place to come, which was needed [after the quake].”
Cassels believes part of its role in creating community is taking care of the environment. The craft brewery has led river cleanup projects for nearly a decade. The cleanups attract thousands of volunteers.
“We helped to create an environment where people respect nature and look after the beautiful assets that we have,” Zak says.
Cassels uses glass bottles made by O-I’s Auckland, New Zealand, plant as part of its commitment to the environment. Glass beer bottles are endlessly recyclable and 75% of amber beer bottles in New Zealand are recycled. When glass beer bottles and jars are recycled, it allows glass manufacturers to put that recycled material directly back into the manufacturing process to create new ones. Cassels also appreciates how glass complements its beers.
“We like glass,” Zak says. “We like the feel of it in our hands. We like drinking out of the bottles. The bottles stay colder for longer. We’re not going to stop using glass.”
Cassels Brewing Co. is one of several craft breweries in New Zealand, like Kereru Brewing in Upper Hutt, who look to glass bottles as part of its mission to be a sustainable business.