Tiamana Limited was officially founded in 2013. It was not until 2015 though that the first big batches, brewed on my own premises, made it on to Wellington's taps.
The first 2 years were full of planning, scaling equipment, financial planning, designing the brand, scouting locations and lots and lots of home-brewing. I was lucky to meet Llew Bardecki from Wild and Woolly Brewing in 2014, through a real estate agent who got sick of trying to find unrealistically small business spaces for each one of us. He suggested we should pool our resources. And we did!
Months went by, still looking for a space to brew. Tiamana presented a few small batches at festivals like SOBA Winter Ales and the Pacific Beer Expo in 2014. And all the while, more brewing in Llew's kitchen.
In July 2014, we finally found our dream location, an industrial unit between Mount Cook and Newtown in Wellington. Then it was time to build a brewery. We ripped up carpet, polished concrete, painted epoxy, string wiring across the walls, and bit by bit assembled the equipment.
Tiamana poured its first beer from commercial-sized batches at the Greater Wellington Brew Day 2015, and at the official opening at Goldings Free Dive, on March 7th 2015.
I was born and raised in Berlin. My dad was brewer and maltster at Schultheiss, one of Berlin's oldest and most iconic breweries. We lived near the brewery, and the caramelly-sweet scent of malt wafted through our street every day. Today, every brew day takes me back with that scent.
Still, I did not think to become a brewer until I moved to Wellington in 2010. My first home was in Aro Valley, and I remember walking by the old abandoned petrol station every day thinking: this would be a great place to make something happen. And then something happened.
The beers of Garage Project, ParrotDog and 8 Wired opened my eyes to what beer can be. Then a visit from my parents brought it all together. We made our way through plenty of tasting paddles, and dad taught me what he knows about brewing.
We bought a simple home brew starter kit and dad and I made a first batch of Pilsner. My fate was sealed.
I'm running Tiamana by myself, and I'm still working part-time as a contractor in customer research and design.
It's been a big learning curve - not only learning to brew, but also building and running a business. I may not get much of a free weekend these days, still Tiamana is the most satisfying work I've ever done.
Tiamana is still a small and new business. While the last years were about planning and establishing, the next years will be about building a reputation and brand, growing production and wider availability.
The arrival of Tiamana's new 1000l fermenter allows me to double production.
Early in 2016 I've shipped my first bottled beers to supermarkets and bottle shops around the North and South Island: Pilski, Kreuzberg, Witzig and Old Fritze. Two 'Reserve' beers will follow, they are small-batch beers (only 200l at a time) and will be sold in 330ml bottles. Watch this space.
All the while, Tiamana will remain boutique. I want the business to remain hands-on and direct. If the demand increases as I hope, I will contract out bigger batches, and continue making small batches myself, having a great time in the process.