Eddyline Brewery opened in May 2009 in Buena Vista, Colorado, by Mic and Molley Heynekamp, who had spent the previous decade transforming their home brewing hobby into a business. In 2011, Eddyline opened its production brewery and started canning its flagship CrankYanker IPA.
After experiencing a significant increase in its beer sales and running out of production capacity, Eddyline Brewery underwent a $3m expansion of its brewery and restaurant operations.
A vacation to New Zealand inspired the Heynekamps to expand globally into the Nelson region of the country.
"They fell in love with New Zealand," CEO Brian England told BeverageDaily.
New Zealand felt like Colorado
“The same appeal that attracted us to Colorado attracted us to New Zealand. I think part of it was, they’re very similar in its geography and the people,” England said.
The core of Eddyline’s company culture is integrating into local communities, and New Zealand felt like the natural first step into global brand expansion, England said.
Nelson’s Great Taste trail is a bike path that circles around the entire region, and incorporating the active community was part of Eddyline business strategy. England wants Eddyline to serve as a respite for adventure-seekers who are either coming from or going on their next adventure.
“We want people to go out on the craziest adventure that they can possibly imagine, and then come to Eddyline to have a beer and reflect on it” or plan their next one,” England said.
“We tried to create an atmosphere where people can just hang out.”
Global brand, but locally brewed
According to England, the craft brewery movement is still in its early stages in New Zealand, with many of the pubs serving traditional English beers, presenting a market opportunity for Eddyline.
“A lot of the beers there are very old-school. You walk into a pub, and all the beers are this 4-4.5%, bland beer,” England said.
Eddyline took lessons learned from its previous brewery openings and made the New Zealand location about three times as large as the original brewery in Colorado, England said.
"We took the best of what we’ve done,” England said. “We’re trying to come up with this model of brewed locally,” as opposed to brewing the beer out of Colorado and shipping it internationally.
The New Zealand location is brewing its original Eddyline Crank Yanker IPA, along with other recipes using ingredients native to the Nelson region, with plans to work with hop farms nearby, England said.
As for further plans for setting up more international locations, England said Eddyline is in a research phase.