A Product of a Pure Process
Monteith's Single Source
Single Source, began with a single minded idea; to create a uniquely New Zealand beer that could re-awaken a beer lovers appreciation of the craft and skill that goes into creating beers with recognisably authentic qualities. Something with real character, integrity and undeniable class. A new breed of batch-brewed lagers unswervingly true to the land and the people it comes from.
The project was idealistic … What if we handpicked ingredients? What if we sought out the superstars of the barley and hop-growing world – the guys who think like chefs and select their ingredients for quality and taste above all? What if we could create beers with totally unique varietal personalities and then give the drinker the ability to identify not only the variety of hop it contains, but the region, the brewer and the individual block on which it was grown?
Designworks’ Michael Crampin was clear that the task was bigger than the beer itself. "Monteith’s wanted to champion the beer category and raise it up to achieve a new appreciation for the quality and diversity of our beer brewers and the brewing process", he says. "Bar owners were telling us that beer wasn’t interesting enough, while winemaking is viewed as an almost spiritual process – the romance and mystery and the art of melding man, land and climate to create a unique expression. There’s so much magic around wine and pride in our national product, but in a well-made beer there are a lot of points in the chain that are actually more complicated than winemaking. We needed to tell that story, introduce new interest and make selecting and drinking a beer a rewarding learning experience as well as sensory one."
He says Single Source is the first beer of its type in New Zealand to really hero the process and philosophy of ‘beer of origin’ and the design of the brand serves to support that with the black glass bottle protecting contents from light and heat and a QR code on each bottle (when scanned by an iPhone) revealing the story of genesis – telling the drinker exactly where their beer ‘ales’ from.
Design director of the project, Jef Wong, was keen to honour the story through every facet of its identity. “The design approach was to place the product at the fore – it’s all about the journey that is taken to create a beer that fits the brewers ideals. The name is that process – Single Sourcing – handpicking place and people, the bottle as a protector, the signature line as the human journey of the beer’s creation.”
Monteith’s Russell Browne sums up the Single Source ideal. "When we started out on the journey to create Single Source we realised we had to do things differently or we’d merely end up with the same results. Once Tony had gone to such lengths with Ian and Bill to create such an interesting beer, the last thing we wanted was for it to get lost by looking and behaving like just any other beer.
"The black bottle adds to our objectives to deliver the tastes of our land by preserving it’s freshness but it also allowed us to look different to the current beer category. The way this beer is talked about will also allow people to discover the beer for what it is – something truly different to other beers currently on offer."
And how, exactly does it taste? According to Monteith's masterbrewer, Tony Mercer, Single Source is a "bottom fermented pilsner with a pale straw colour and flavour that begins with a soft bitterness that builds delicately with an aromatic balance, ending with a sharp, dry finish."