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Production to double at new brewing site

Tuesday 20 December 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National

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Production to double at new brewing site
The building opposite The Edgewater Resort and Spa in Arorangi on the Main Rd is undergoing major renovations to become the new home of Cook Islands Lager. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22121917

Rarotonga Brewery is set to move from its location on the Main Rd opposite Oasis Energy to a new site opposite The Edgewater Resort and Spa in Arorangi as the company looks to more than double its capacity.

Company spokesman Edward Nee Nee said the current location had served them well over the past seven years, but it was time to move on as the lease had expired, and they were planning to increase capacity from 4000 to 10,000 litres.

That would involve installation of new tanks at the Arorangi facility, which was undergoing a refit.

Nee Nee said the development had been in the pipeline for some time as Covid-19 had put the brakes on progress.  

The company plans to brew cider at its new plant with locally sourced fruits, plus hazy ale.

A number of former Matutu Brewing tanks would assist with the increased capacity, he said.

The operation employs eight staff who will all move to the new site, sometime in the New Year, pending progress.

“It’s like starting from scratch; we are in the new norm playing catch-up football following Covid-19.”

That involves juggling logistical issues including the increasing cost of carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2), grain and transport, Nee Nee said.

“We are also looking forward to expanding our environmental innovations; our keeper bottle programme is 12 months old.

“For the first eight months the bottles never came back, but at the moment we have an 80 per cent return rate.

“We don’t want to see them going into landfill.”

Nee Nee said the move was a huge investment for the company.

“We were ready to do this prior to Covid.

“We look forward to what we have to deliver now, and we also thank our loyal customers for supporting us during tough times.”

Rarotonga Brewery celebrated a major milestone in the company’s history in 2019. By choosing not to bottle their popular Cook Islands Lager, the company helped to stop over one million glass bottles from entering the landfill.

The aim was to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill.

For every two-litre flagon refill, six bottles are saved from entering the landfill.

Every four-litre refill saves twelve bottles, and every 50-litre keg saves 150 bottles from entering the landfill.