Getting Funky in The Netherlands

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Sharing a Funk ale: Kiwi expats Dan Hair and Jared Baucke beside one of Amsterdam’s canals.  Photo/Supplied.

A beer brewed at Mount Maunganui is a “popular drop” for train commuters in the central Netherlands, according to the brewers Funk Estate, a recent finalist in the Bay of Plenty Export NZ Awards 2019. 

The brewing team at was delighted to find that one of their sour beers is going down well with train travellers in Utrecht. 

… it’s pretty cool and rewarding that they are appreciating our homegrown Kiwi product.

The city is the Netherlands’ fourth largest and it is a major hub for rail transport with intercity services connecting other Dutch cities.  

“We became aware of the popularity of our Jungle Boogie sour beer after noticing a growing number of reviews on a craft beer review App Untappd,” said chief executive  Jordan Evison.

“It appears that there is a culture among train commuters to share interesting craft beers during their journeys – and Jungle Boogie is one that travellers are trying – and liking.”

Jungle Boogie has been rated well over 2500 times on the review app and had been rated very favourably, said
Evison. 

“Given that Europeans are very sophisticated beer drinkers and countries like the Netherlands have brewed beer for centuries – with labels like Heineken – it’s pretty cool and rewarding that they are appreciating our homegrown Kiwi product.”

Strong exports to UK

Evison said the Netherlands’ market had apparently been opened up through Funk Estate’s distributor in the UK – which is becoming its biggest export market – and Jungle Boogie also seemed to be getting a following in bars in the city of Utrecht. 

He would not disclose exact numbers, but said it had become a quickly growing market for Funk Estate. Evison said Funk now annually produced “hundreds of thousands of litres” and exported beer to countries including Australia, Japan and Thailand, and has also exported to Taiwan. 

“We have even sent a one off order to Scott Base,” said Evison.“But sour beers like Jungle Boogie have been a huge success overseas.”

Funk re-located from Auckland a few years ago to team up with Mount Brewing Company and share brewing facilities at the Rising Tide brewhouse and eatery at Mount Maunganui. 

Evison runs the company with partners Dylan Shearer and Shigeo Takagi.

He said Jungle Boogie, a “blood orange” sour ale, had also been one of the most popular beers on the Australasian craft beer scene. 

“Last year Jungle Boogie was voted #16 in the Hottest 100 Kiwi beers, and was also the biggest mover on the list, improving from its #87 spot the year before. Fingers crossed we’ll improve on that this year.” 

Funk’s range of canned beers and kegs were distributed widely throughout New Zealand, and available at all good beer venues, he said.  

The company’s core range of beers includes So’phisticuffs India Pale Ale, Oh Lordy Pale Ale & Parleyer Pilsner. But they also made offbeat beers such as a “very summery” peach tea Indian pale ale, a joint project with Tauranga-based tea company Webster’s Tea.

Funk likes to work with the wider industry and team up wherever possible, said Evison. 

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David Porter

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