Leading Wellington beer brewers Garage Project have opened in Auckland, with a ‘cellar door’ in a former Kingsland factory
Leading Wellington brewers Garage Project open in a Kingsland factory
Garage Project opened in Aro Valley in – yes – an abandoned service station in 2011, and quickly become leaders in the New Zealand craft-beer scene. They’ve now opened their first location in Auckland – a ‘cellar door’, warehouse and office. “After Wellington, we used to send more beer to Melbourne than the rest of New Zealand,” says co-founder Jos Ruffell. “But in the past 18 months Auckland has become our single largest market. So I think in a way Auckland is saying, ‘Hey you need to be here’.”
It’s a ‘cellar door’ rather than a bar – what’s the thinking behind that?
To give people an immersive experience of everything Garage. We can stage events, relay directly what’s happening in the brewery and give a heightened experience – it doesn’t feel like a normal place to buy beer. We want people to try everything and give them as much or little information as they want.
You are on a stretch of New North Road and there’s not a lot there – what’s the attraction?
It’s a classic Garage move. We like to be a bit early, then help build a community – it was the same with our two spaces in Wellington. We think it’s an exciting spot and I think it’ll be the first of a few venues in the city.
What makes a Garage Project space?
We teamed up again with designer Matt Smith but we’ve looked at ways to tweak and evolve. We had a full tile wall at Aro and now it’s quite common so we’ve gone for a hand-applied plaster wall instead. The challenge with a Garage Project space is to not have it look like a teenager’s bedroom. We have so much art, we could slap 1000 posters on the wall but the real challenge is to give the beers and art a place to shine.
What’s the building like and what have you done to it?
It was a school uniform shop and factory and was full of uniforms when we first went in. There were dressing rooms and a sewing workshop and for the first several weeks, we had a constant stream of people coming to buy uniforms. The main things were to move a staircase and a couple of doors so we could have a single wall of taps. When you walk in, we want those 12 taps glowing at you.
357 New North Rd, Kingsland, Auckland
Photography by: David Straight