Ale & hearty

By Karl du Fresne In Business

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There was a time, Christchurch brewer Ralph Bungard recalls, when New Zealand beers were like airport terminals – virtually impossible to tell apart. Mass-produced in what’s known technically as a brown lager style, they were all fizzy, sweet and flavourless. “You’d be struggling,” Bungard says, “to pick the difference.” Then something happened. In 1980, a publican and former All Black named Terry McCashin, sensing a tide of resentment at the lack of choice available to the beer drinker, did the unthinkable. He bought the Rochdale cider factory in the Nelson suburb of Stoke, ...

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