Marlborough brewery shuts beer garden for winter

The Moa Bar and Brewery site on Jacksons Road looking back towards Rapaura Vintners.

Derek Flynn/Stuff

The Moa Bar and Brewery site on Jacksons Road looking back towards Rapaura Vintners.

A Marlborough brewery has made the “bloody tough” decision to close its beer garden over winter.

In summer, MOA Brewing Company’s cellar door is busy with both locals and tourists, taking advantage of the space nestled between vineyards. The outdoor beer garden was often home to Sandy’s food truck.

Marlborough Brewing Company chief executive Stephen Smith said they hoped to reopen sometime in Spring, but had made the decision to close their doors because winter was traditionally slow.

“The simple matter is that the cellar door over the winter period is very quiet anyway. Coupled with obviously tourism taking a hit, that’s a big part of our customer base as well,” Smith said.

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“With Covid-19 and the uncertainty that has presented us as well, we’ve just made the tough decision to shut it over winter in Spring.”

They had considered staying open with reduced hours from Thursday or Friday through to Sunday, but Smith said ultimately it was too hard.

The popular cellar door would look to reopen in Spring.

Scott Hammond/Stuff

The popular cellar door would look to reopen in Spring.

“The brewing team would still be there brewing beer, it’s a dual-purpose site, so there’s no issues there,” Smith said.

“It was just more the cellar door which gets very, very quiet over winter, and then the issues around Covid have made it a little bit more difficult to keep operating.

“It has been a bloody tough decision, and we did try to find an alternative to keep it open but we just couldn’t find a solution for it work commercially so we just unfortunately had to make that decision.”

He said they would take some time to “reset” the space and make some upgrades to the site.

“So we’re just looking to take the time to reset what it’s going to be, come Spring and look forward to reopening for everybody.

“Let’s hope that the domestic market from tourism and hopefully our international borders may have opened by then, but if not, we really hope the domestic market we’ll be reliant on our domestic market and our locals coming out to support us in Spring.”