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Brewery and Eco-sanctuary team up for conservation

What do you get when a local brewery teams up with an eco-sanctuary? In the case of the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary (BWST) and The Free House, it’s a delicious kawakawa infused pale ale.

Light-heartedly named the ‘kākāriki pale ale’ in honour of the rare kākāriki  karaka which were recently reintroduced into the Sanctuary, this is the first beverage to make an appearance as part of the ‘Sanctuary inspired beer series’, a joint initiative between BWST and The Free House which aims to raise awareness and build support  about New Zealand’s native species.

The kākāriki karaka is one of three parakeet species found on mainland New Zealand and is differentiated by an orange frontal band above their beak. The other species are the yellow-crowned parakeet and the red-crowned parakeet. Since November 2021, The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary has received over 100 birds from ICWT and Orana Wildlife Park with the assistance of DOC.

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary was identified as a site of preference to release the birds due to its expansive 690ha pest free area, including a sizable area of pristine beech forest which is known to be a great habitat for kākāriki karaka. The progress of the birds is closely monitored by a dedicated team of Sanctuary staff and volunteers and DOC staff, with successful breeding reported  starting back in April.

The beer collaboration hopes to raise some awareness about the birds while also raising funds for the Sanctuary as 10% from every beer purchased will be donated to the Sanctuary. The beer pours with a misty orange glow and is infused with Kawakawa leaves & Tōtara berries for a unique taste of the New Zealand Forest. The use of Kawakawa, a native New Zealand plant, brings a flavour of the Sanctuary to the craft beer offerings at the Free House.

The Free House owner Eelco Boswijk had this to say; “Thirteen years ago, when The Free House opened, our motto was ‘set the beers free,’ so it is a delicious coincidence that we join the BWST in brewing beers to celebrate introduced and endemic species. Cheers, to the birds and the beers.”

Brook Sanctuary’s Chief Executive Ru Collin says “The Sanctuary is pleased to be partnering with the Free house to launch a Sanctuary inspired series of beers produced and sold by the Freehouse. It’s great to see the Sanctuary working with a Sanctuary Brook business club member with a novel approach to supporting the Sanctuary. We hope to raise awareness and support for a selection of species present in the pest free Sanctuary, with this first beer release celebrating the establishment of the kākāriki karaka .”

 “Our volunteer network has been amazing throughout the translocation process, from monitoring to ongoing fence maintenance supporting the translocation. Ru also notes that we also acknowledge the efforts of DOC and both sending iwi and receiving iwi involved in  the translocation process, both have been great partners for this successful reintroduction. The Sanctuary hopes the launch of this beer will be a fun way for volunteers and the wider community to reflect on the progress of the kākāriki re-introduction

 The Sanctuary is not involved in producing or selling the beer product. We would like to thank Eelco and the Free house team for their unique approach at giving us support”

The Free House are part of the Brook Business Club, a collective of local and regional businesses who actively support the Sanctuary and its vision to restore an ecosystem.

The beer will hit the taps from 16th June and will be available for purchase exclusively at the Free House while stocks last.


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