OPEN 7 days a week from Monday 16 November

From Monday the 16th of November the Smoko Room is open 7 days a week!

We are open for a casual drink, lunch or dinner. We are now taking bookings for dinner from 5.30pm, please email

Opening hours:

Sunday to Tuesday --> 12pm till 9pm

Wednesday to Saturday --> 12pm till 10pm 


Brewery and Smoko Room - OPEN!

A massive thank you to our community for your support over the last ten months while we have rebuilt the Brewery + Smoko Room. From midday Friday the 31st of July we are OPEN again and look forward to seeing you for great hospitality, freshly brewed beers and inventive, casual and locally sourced food.

On Friday the 31st of July and Sunday the 2nd of August we will have live music! Keep an eye out on our website and social media for more information. 

We can't wait to see you again! Cheers from all us.  


Brewery and Smoko Room re-build update - 4th of June 2020

Building work at the Brewery has started again after the lockdown and we hope to have both the Brewery and Smoko Room up and running again by the end of July/ beginning of August.

Right now we are working on reinstating the electricity and refrigeration and will be installing silos for grain which will mean around 12.000 less plastic sacks used each year. We'll keep finding ways to make sure our environmental and social impact is a positive one (the sacks were recycled but reduction is even better). 

We're looking forward to welcome you back. Thank you for your ongoing support and see you soon!  


Fill a flagon at the Brewery | Re-build update

Fill a flagon at the Brewery!

A once a year opportunity to taste our Home Block Fresh Hop Pale Ale - brewed with our very own Matakana hops! We had a bumper crop this year so the fresh hop aroma is really punchy. 

Head down to the Brewery carpark (the brewery is still closed) on Friday the 20th of March from 4pm to 6pm (or until sold out) to fill a flagon of this unfiltered, malty pale ale hopped with fresh cones. 

$13 per litre - Bring cash, flagons and lids. We will have growlers to buy if you need one.


Re-build update

It has been a busy 2 months since the rebuild got underway. The roof was pulled off, tanks all craned out and the roof rebuilt - with the tanks lifted back in through a strategically left hole!

In the coming weeks we will line the walls, repair the floor, reinstate cabling, power and refrigeration, and a few thousand other tasks. 

The plan is to be brewing again by late April. We are lucky to work with so many skilled local contractors on the rebuild in particular Bigwood Builders. 

We still hope to re-open the Smoko Room the beginning of June. 

We can't wait! 


Re-build update | Plans for 2020 | Summer Festivals

Re-build update

Building work, starting with a new roof, looks set to commence in January and will take around 6 months to complete. The first priority is to have the Brewery up and running again. We are extremely lucky to be working with local tradespeople including Bigwood Builders. 

Plans for 2020

In February look forward to a new release celebrating our first year of being B-Corp certified. Then it's Fresh Hop season! In a first for a New Zealand brewery, we'll brew three beers from three different hop harvests around New Zealand - our own, Motueka and a trial crop from Whakatane. We've got a full schedule of short runs lined up for the rest of the year including a number of collaborations with New Zealand's best independent breweries in our Homegrown Series of IPA's.

Summer Festivals 

If you're travelling look out for us at:

- The Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch (25 January)

- The Wellington Wine & Food Festival (1 February)

- Sunsetter Food, Wine & Music Festival in Takapuna (15 February)

- City of Ales in Auckland (22 February)

- The Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Hamilton (7 March)


Homebrew Competition 2019

The last couple of years we have run a homebrew competition for reasons close to our hearts and we are doing it again. Here is why. 

In 2010 we bought the Sawmill Brewery (then based in Leigh) from a really hardworking and clever couple, Peter and Decima Freckleton. They mostly made lagers. In the craft beer industry at that time lagers were about as unfashionable as they could possibly be but conversely that's what a lot of people preferred to drink. And they made them well. 

Peter passed away in 2016, just after we moved into the brewery's site in Matakana. We talked about ways to celebrate his contribution to the craft beer industry in New Zealand and to acknowledge him as a founder of the brewery we are very proud to now be stewards of and decided to hold a competition. 

We are running it again this year. It is open to anyone to brew a great lager that flips the bird at fashion and trends. Make something you love. Tell us why you love it and enter two bottles by the 22nd of November. A panel of judges including our brew team will judge the best beer and the winner will get the opportunity for a brew day here in Matakana making their beer as part of the off-cut series. 

For more information or an entry form please contact  


Fire at the Brewery

On Monday night the 7th of October an accidental fire broke out at our Brewery. It spread throughout the office and services to the building and there is damage to the brewery roof. It took local fire crews over two hours to contain the blaze. No one was injured but unfortunately the damage to the office and services within the building is extensive and therefore the Brewery and Smoko Room will be closed until further notice. 

In part thanks to the generosity of our brewing community we can confirm we are able to send our brewing team to brew offsite and will be continuing to supply beer as usual. 

A huge thanks to all of you who have sent messages of support from near and far, it has meant the world to us. We have a incredible community of brewers, customers and beer lovers here in New Zealand and it has been absolutely humbling to see the help we have been offered. The best help we can ask for is you continue to order and drink Sawmill beer as usual. 


Support for the Arts Foundation Ball

We were stoked to have supported the recent Arts Foundation ball in Auckland  - a very fancy evening to support a really worthy cause. The Arts Foundation is the cornerstone of support for the arts in New Zealand.

The event raised nearly $225,000 with the funds going to  establish the Springboard Programme  - a series of packages that will help outstanding young artists kick-start a career in the arts with a year of funding and support. As well as funding support, the Foundation matches each Springboard recipient with an artistic mentor and the guidance of an Arts Foundation Kotahi donor for a year. 


Homegrown IPA Series 

A new beer every month | Always different | Always homegrown

We have been kicking off a series of beers celebrating what we have right here in NZ - an IPA series using exclusively New Zealand hops and malts. IPA's of all kind - hazy, double, black, white and single hopped.

Every single one of them promoting our own farmers and brewers, their vision and creativity, and the bright future of beer from New Zealand.

A new release every 3rd Thursday of the month - for the coming 12 months - at reputable venues around NZ. 


Two beers in the TOP 30 - New World Beer & Cider Awards 2019

The New World Beer & Cider Awards took a different approach this year with the judges selecting the Top 30 entries not in any particular order. We are thrilled to have taken not one but two spots in this group of outstanding entries with our IPA and our Session IPA. The Sawmill Chocolate Stout and Passionfruit Sour also made the TOP 100 list (Highly commended).

Judged by a 24-strong panel this year's awards were the biggest yet with over 630 beers entered from 100 breweries. 

The gold medal winning IPA and Session IPA can be found in all New World stores nationwide from the 27th of May. 

"It's a great recognition of the hard work and consistency from the brewers over the years. Highly drinkable beer with a Sawmill edge." 

Click here for more information on the New World website and here for the TV ad about us


The Art of Beer Series #2 - Fresh Hopped White IPA

In the Art of Beer Series we worked with Iain Cheesman on labels for limited release beers, firstly the India Pale Lager (see below). Secondly, the Fresh Hopped White IPA. Once a year brewer's get an opportunity to use fresh hops as they are harvested in Motueka in Autumn (the rest of the year they are use in a dried form). 

This juicy number was brewed with a Belgian Witbier grain bill including wheat and flaked oats. On top of this base is a borderline insane amount of fresh Nelson Sauvin hop cones which give big aromas of tropical fruit, grape, and herbaceous notes. The spicy, fruity yeast character mingles seamlessly with the juicy, oily hop presence and the beer finishes dry for balance.

 A highly refreshing and interesting take on a fresh hop beer, which maintains drinkability with a huge hop flavour.

Available from the 15th of April around the country and at the Smoko Room from the 12th of April. Beer launch at the Smoko Room on the 12th of April from 4.30pm, all welcome! 


The Art of Beer Series #1 - India Pale Lager

We have always worked with artists for our beer labels and this year we have brought it a lot closer to home. Iain Cheesman is represented by The Vivian Gallery and his work has hung in the Smoko Room since we opened. Using historical references, personal stories, abandoned bird boxes, embroidered felt disks, stacked bowls, hand-carved totems, and of course his signature hand-painted wooden and bronze arrows, Iain's work is both instantly recognisable, and utterly unique. 

In the Art of Beer Series we worked with Iain on labels for limited release beers, firstly the India Pale Lager, a version of the single hopped brew we made earlier this year using Mosaic, a dank, sweaty sulphury hop from the States. The Sawmill emoji on this label started off in felt and this original will be generously auctioned for charity by Iain and Scott Lawrie from The Vivian Gallery later in the year. 

Our huge thanks to Iain, Scott and Craig from The Vivian for making this project happen. It was loose, fast, intuitive and a joy to be part of.  

Available from the 8th of April around the country and at the Smoko Room from the 3rd of April. Beer launch at the Smoko Room on the 4th of April from 4.30pm, all welcome! 


Home Block Fresh Hop Pale Ale

There aren't many rural breweries in New Zealand and being one of them has given us a great opportunity to grow our own hops onsite. It has been really gratifying to see how interested people are in the bines (not vines) and is a great opportunity for them to engage more in what goes into their beer. 

Hops are a perennial and grow voraciously from about September to harvest of the cones in February. We initially set up the harvest as a fundraiser for Homebuilders but the hops started to dry out and had to be picked straight away. So instead our whole team was hauled out of the brewery and we got them all picked by morning tea. The cones have an extraordinary aroma when you pick them. Our hops are all New Zealand Cascade. They have a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristics. Cascade hops are grown all over the world but here in Matakana they will have distinctive profile, different even from those grown in Motueka because of the terroir. Ours have been particularly floral and herbaceous. 

This very limited run Home Block Fresh Hop Pale Ale is available on tap in the Smoko Room from early March.  


Rebecca Wardell - A long way home

On Wednesday the 6th of March the inspiring Rebecca Wardell - formal Olympian heptathlete and International Olympic Committee staff member - spoke at the Smoko Room. Starting in Switzerland, Rebecca has been cycling home to NZ and raising money to help young women achieve their sporting goals as she goes. She has tripped through Europe, Turkey, Iran, China and SE Asia; often accompanied by sporting friends and her parents through Laos. She's cycled a lot solo, too.

The final track ahead takes Rebecca down the length of NZ but she stopped with us in Matakana first. The night ran as a fundraiser for the Forward Foundation, with a request for $10 donation per person.


Wairau Maori Art Gallery Fundraising Auction

In October 2018 the Wairau Maori Art Gallery in Whangarei held an auction in association with the Tim Melville Gallery in Auckland. More than 30 New Zealand artists donated significant artworks to the auction, supported by ART + OBJECT, to raise funds towards the creation and development of the Wairau Maori Art Gallery in Whangarei. This new Gallery will occupy the ground floor of the extraordinary Hundertwasser Art Centre due to open on the Whangarei waterfront in late 2020. It will become a critical cultural pulse for Maori artists and curators and will provide an artistic hub, education space and showcase Maori from across Aotearoa to an audience from around the world. 

From Sawmill's perspective we have close family ties to Northland and a deep personal affection for this beautiful part of New Zealand and we were really proud to support the Auction. Nearly $100.000 was raised for this ambitious project.  


Opening Preview from Sally Gabori at The Vivian Gallery

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori was born about 1924 on Bentinck Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria. She only started painting around 80 years of age, and her career lasted only a decade or so, before she passed away in 2015. Her legacy was a life-affirming body of work that has no parallel in Australian art history. 

Love and adored by institutions and private collectors around the world, The Vivian is pleased to announce a major show of Mrs Gabori's work which will run from 23 March - 12 May 2019. The opening preview is on the 23rd of March from 4pm - 6pm. Presented in conjunction with The Estate of Sally Gabori and Alcastan Gallery, Melbourne, these rare works have never been seen before in New Zealand.  

The Vivian is a purpose built space on 3 acres of landscaped grounds, and is unlike any other gallery in the country. The Vivian shows internationally renowned and local artists in curated and group shows - interspersed by talks, performances, and events. We are extremely proud supporters of the Vivian and we share their appreciation for creativity, talent and being straight up.  


Be The Change. 

We, like other breweries are an energy intensive manufacturer. And in 2018 we decided it was time to do what we do best - do things our own way. We started using solar energy about 12 years ago in our old brewery in Leigh but now with the support of Zen Energy we have a grunty system on our roof capable of meeting the daytime needs of the Brewery and Smoko Room.

It is the largest solar power system in use by a New Zealand brewery and we hope other breweries can use the data we gather to help them make decisions about alternative energy. This year we will put in live monitoring of the system so that it is transparent to anyone visiting the brewery where our energy is coming from. 


Smoko Room 




Re-build update

Hop harvest 5_2

Fill a flagon at the Brewery


Re-build update


Re-build update 


Summer Festivals 


Homebrew Competition winner 2017


Fire at the Brewery 


Arts Foundation Ball


Homegrown IPA Series


Top 30 New World Awards 


The Art of Beer Series #2


The Art of Beer Series #1

Hop harvest_1

Hop Harvest 


Rebecca Wardell 


Wairau Maori Art Gallery Fundraising


Sally Gabori 

Solar Panels_1

Solar panels