History of the Wigram Brewing Co.
After 10 years of full mash hobby brewing Paul McGurk’s passion for brewing took him to the next level of designing and building a 600lt commercial brewery and so Wigram Brewing Company was born, Paul’s mission “to produce quality full flavoured beer and educate the New Zealand palate”.
Paul completed his Dairy Technology study at Massey University and after working in the dairy industry for a while headed to Europe for his OE. After experiencing a lot of Europe’s finest ales it was to become Pauls ambition to start his own brewery. He returned to Christchurch late 1989, worked in a lab for a while where the shift work gave him the freedom to develop his own brewing techniques and put into action his plan for a brewery.
Under the watchful eye of Paul Cooper a seasoned brewer and long time friend Wigram put down its first commercial brew in Dec 2001. Paul and Caroline’s eldest son Joe took on the full time role of brewer while Paul and Caroline remained in their full time jobs to ensure financial investment continued and the brewery had everything it needed to start life.
The brewery formally opened in March 2003 with 3 beers Propeller Lager, Dakota Dark and Wigram Draught. In 2005 after only 2 years of brewing Wigram took 4 medals for their beers and a best in class trophy for their graphics, these were just the start.
In 2006 after the birth of their 3rd son Paul left his full time job and worked in the brewery. After investors came on board in 2007 and with Paul Cooper also taking on the role as Head Brewer, Wigram has continued to grow its range which includes 15 beers. Wigram offers a contract brewing service and in the past has brewed for Heritage Foods,Ad-Lib Brewing Co, KJD Brewing Company,Harringtons,Dux de Lux, Simo’s, Reefton Racecourse Brewing and helped out many home brewers and those interested in starting out in the industry.
Wigram continues to consistently produce award winning brews and with the huge growth in the craft brewing industry the competition bar is being set higher and higher, exciting times in an exciting industry.