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August 12, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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Five Minutes With Funk Estate

Since launching in May last year, Wellington beer label Funk Estate has earned itself a whole lot of brewhaha, picking up a number of awards and pouring at bars around the country. Salient spoke to Victoria graduate and Funk Estate Business Manager Jordan Evison about taking beer from home-brew to big brew.

What got you started home-brewing in the first place?

I first started when I moved in with Dylan [Shearer, a co-founder of Funk Estate and Vic graduate]; he was already really into it and had been doing it for a couple of years, and it’s something that I’d always wanted to do. He was able to show me the ropes and get me started, so it was something that we did together. That then led on to meeting the other guys.

A lot of Funk Estate’s recipes were originally developed when you were home-brewing; how do you create new flavours and work out new styles to try out?

It all just starts off with a style—you decide what style of beer you want to make. Generally, that’s what sort of beers you like drinking yourself, because it’s all an endgame kind of thing: you want to have beer that you yourself want to drink. But then you also get random ideas for random flavours or extra little additions that might be interesting, or creative or challenging, and you just kind of add that into the mix as you go.

What was your favourite home-brew creation?

That would have to be a Peanut Butter Porter.

How did you go from home-brewing to deciding to launch your own label?

Shiggy [Takagi, co-founder of Funk Estate] had been doing it for a while, and he decided he was pretty good at it, and Dylan felt the same. Shiggy was looking to assemble a team to work with and build a beer-related company. Dan [Lord, co-founder of Funk Estate,] had brewed with Shiggy, Shiggy had brewed with Dylan, and Dylan had brewed with me. What we say on the side of our bottles is that we’re “connected through a series of collaborative home-brews”. So there was kind of that chain, and that’s how we all came together. We were all brought in for different reasons and had different roles within the company.

And you’ve been brewing under the label since May last year?

Yep, we had our first public launch in May last year; the whole sort of process kicked off before that, but officially I guess, we’re just over a year old.

Were you surprised by the response you had at your launch and how well the label’s been received since then?

Yep. We were blown away. We didn’t really expect it to be as big as it was, and continue to be as big as it is. It has been a really positive experience and we’ve been received really well.

And you’ve picked up a few awards?

Yep. We won the People’s Choice Award at Beervana last year. That’s probably the biggest one. We also picked up the People’s Choice Award at the City of Ales in Auckland recently. Those were for two different beers. We also picked up a medal in the Brewers Guild Awards last year, which was quite cool for us because we’d only done a couple of batches of beer at that point.

In terms of starting and running a business, do you feel like your Finance degree prepared you at all for that, or have you learned on the job?

I think a Finance degree helps, and there’s things from that that I’ve used, but I wouldn’t say it directly translates to being able to run a business, and I do think a lot of that comes down to your personality and your ability to adapt to certain situations. An aptitude more than a degree translates to being able to do it.

What plans do you have on the horizon for Funk Estate?

Just keep making good beer and see how far we can get.

What’s your advice for people wanting to get started in home-brewing or home-brewers looking to up their game?

Just get amongst it and give it a go. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of and do.


Want to try it for yourself? Funk Estate’s Parleyer is now on tap at The Hunter Lounge!

Interested in brewing your own? Newtown’s The Brew House has everything you need to get started.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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