Recently, I have described how changes in the beer market have finally lead to improvements in West Auckland. Back before the “super city” swallowed Waitakere, nearly all alcohol sales in this area were controlled by the Waitakere Trust . Grocery stores were dry and the Trust owned liquor stores stocked your expected big brewery fizzy brown ales and tasteless lagers. But the profits from alcohol sales went back to the community. One year, all residents were given free smoke detectors. Another year, we got first aid kits. Plus they built the Waitakere Trusts stadium.
I have lived in West Auckland area since moving to this country eight years ago. I tried several times to convince the liquor stores to bring in some craft beers. My argument has always been that craft beers are about quality, not quantity. If one of the goals of the Trust is to reduce alcohol consumption, then surely selling craft beers would go towards that goal .
I am not sure who to thank for changing business practice at the Trust but someone has finally looked at the market trends and adjusted the selection offered for sale at Trust owned liquor stores. I have been given permission by the Trust to reprint an article in their April publication which follows.
 The exception was Blanc (formerly known as Lincoln Road Winery) whose sale of alcohol licence had grandfather status (they existed prior to the Trust). By the way, Blanc has an expanding and most excellent craft beer selection. I highly recommend them if you are out this way.
 Can I just say “I told you so”?
The Craft Beer Phenomenon
Craft beers are becoming a big hit around the world and The Trusts have chosen to make West Auckland a leader in this growing trend, by progressively installing filling stations for dispensing a wide range of craft beers as new stores are opened.
Craft beers are effectively hand-crafted in relatively small quantities and from an increasing array of highly individualised recipes.
Along with the demand for the craft beers, there is a growing sophistication in both the products and the way people are consuming them. People now go beer tasting where they would once go wine tasting – and bring the same sort of skills into play, sampling the beer to separate out the different flavours that go into its overall taste. Similarly, restaurants are increasingly offering food and beer matching.
An important part of this growing trend, is the option to sample across a wide range of beers and to move quickly and easily to new products, hence the introduction of The Wests Selection Craft Beer On Tap filling stations.
A four tap station now in operation at Swanson Village Wine and Spirits and a major eight tap station at the newly opened West Liquor Glen Eden.
The Trusts believes West Aucklanders are very keen to explore craft beers. Manager of Retail Operations, Mark Clayton, who is overseeing the initiative, has been delighted with customers response to date. “ Sales have exceeded all expectations.The suppliers of both the equipment and the fresh craft beer agree that they have not seen such a strong launch of an on-tap craft beer offering in New Zealand.”