Junction Awards 2018 Winner - The Sawmill Brewery & Smoko Room

The Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room have taken out the top prize! Congratulations on winning the Junction ‘J Award’. 

The team have worked hard to get where they are today and it’s a must visit spot when wanting a few delicious sharing plates perfectly matched with creative beers. 

The Sawmill Brewery is located in a nifty rural setting on Leigh Road, just outside of Matakana – you’ll enjoy your beer, with a view. 

Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay, owners of the Sawmill Brewery, work with a small, dedicated team of talented brewers, bringing you ‘beer with roots’ with no sugar, preservatives or colours, unpasteurized and plenty of vibrant flavours. “We are both really proud of our team, in the brewery and the Smoko Room. We are proud of being able to grow in what is now a very crowded market and to bring the economic benefits of that to our community,” says Kirsty.

It’s no wonder the Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room have won the Junction ‘J Award’, as they value their staff and community considerably. “We try to understand what our staff want from their involvement with Sawmill and then make a pathway for that to happen,” says Kirsty. “Because the business is growing there are always opportunities to learn more and do more,” she says. The Matakana region inspires the development and success of the brewery, “up here, we feel motivated by this creative and entrepreneurial community. For example, we were the first craft brewery to can beer,” says Kirsty. “We have been hyper-independent with an already independent industry, because of living up here,” she says.

All the success definitely comes with its challenges “almost daily you are confronted by things you don’t know, but need to learn, and fast. Learning how to make not just good beer but really great beer,” says Kirsty. It continues to pay off though and the team have quickly learnt to back themselves in the decisions they make and to stop comparing themselves to others in the industry. Instead they are focussing on moving forward and growing the business even more! “We have had incredible people part of the brewery over the last 8 years, super talented and committed. We have also had a plan for growth because we believe this is good for our team and our community,” says Kirsty.

The Sawmill team will now be expanding, with their own sales team members coming on board. They have recently also been hosting incredible collaboration dinners in the Smoko Room, which the community have really loved “we want to keep growing our business and create opportunities for our team and community,” says Kirsty. If that’s not enough, the team have now also applied to become a B Corporation Certified business, which is a third party standard, requiring companies to meet social sustainability, environmental performance standards, accountability standards and to be transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. “It’s really challenging, really confronting sometimes and has got us thinking a lot about the future of the brewery,” says Kirsty. 

The Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room is the perfect addition to the beautiful Matakana region and worth the drive for its delicious golden drops – your taste buds are in for quite the treat! 


1004 Leigh Rd, Matakana