Junction Awards 2019 Runner Up - Sawmill Brewery

In the beginning, the Sawmill Brewery had a simple goal: to make excellent beers which their customers could enjoy in the best possible way. But now they’ve broadened their outlook enormously and the team is fully committed to building “a strong business that’s good for our team, our community and our environment.”

With three young boys themselves, owners Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay are keen to keep things environmentally friendly. The brewery has a zero-waste goal and a massive solar set-up – the biggest in use by a brewery in NZ. “We also recycle all our soft plastics within New Zealand, get all our water from our site in Matakana (via rainwater collection plus spring water) and we use all our grey water as irrigation on the farm,” says Kirsty. “All the spent grain and kitchen waste goes to local cattle and pigs and any remaining food waste is composted.”

She reckons the biggest impact on the business this year was becoming New Zealand’s first B-Corporation certified brewery. They joined just 22 other New Zealand businesses in meeting the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. “B-Corp certification is tough to achieve, but it gives us a framework to measure our progress and empowers our entire team to work towards being a better business,” says Kirsty.

So why does she think they got their votes? “Well, we’re really conscious of looking after the people we live and work with. We celebrate local and seasonal produce, we buy local wherever possible and we love supporting our community.”

Building the Sawmill Brewery was a team process from the very beginning and over the past few years the Brewery has collaborated with guest chefs, with artists and with other brewers as well, to keep things fresh, creative and progressive. 

Throughout the year there are special events, dinners and workshops to be part of, with the next one on 26 July: three chefs will offer a five course meal with optional beer-matching – three courses will come from a hangi in the courtyard. Stay up to date via the brewery events page.


Junction Mag