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How Nelson became the craft brewing capital

FLASHBACK: Terry McCashin, left, and then prime minister Rob Muldoon with a handle of Mac’s beer in 1981.

If you are among the 10 per cent of Nelson that turned out for Taste Nelson, you know what a lovely day it was.

This was our first, but one after another of our Nelson native friends shared fond memories of their youth when Taste Nelson was the best thing going.

We were invited to go along and talk about why Nelson is the craft brewing capital. As we prepared our talk, we realised we hadn't written much in this column about the history of beer in our region. We see it as quite fundamental to the character of the region, and that history explains a lot about why we have such a great beer scene here, so let's give a bit of a recap.

Nelson can't claim the first beer in New Zealand. That was done all the way back in 1773 in Dusky Sound by Captain Cook. To fend off scurvy, according to his logbook, he brewed a mix of molasses and rimu, flavoured with manuka.

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