Timeline & History
Like all good stories, it all started with beer…
Peter Eastwood, a pretty good homebrewer with an entrepreneurial flare, fed up working for ‘the man’, decided that he would take his passion and turn it into a business, starting a small homebrewing store in Petone, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
Philip Jones, a distinguished chemist, established Sachetpack Limited (later becoming SPL International) in England, devoting himself to building an international company within the homebrew, commercial alcoholic drinks industries. The company grew quickly in the first two years, creating interest from the press with articles in the Financial Times and a number of business awards.
Through several years of R&D, Philip Jones invented Turbo Yeast a range of fast fermenting yeast and nutrition products for the home spirit market in Scandinavia that are now used worldwide by commercial breweries, distilleries and alcoholic drinks providers.
By this time, Peter Eastwood’s homebrew business really started humming along, and by 1995 he had a solid homebrew shop with regular customers, and had also started producing his own range of distilling flavours and stills under the brand Still Spirits which he was wholesaling to homebrew stores around New Zealand. Hamish Dowell, a very savvy commercial business man who had recently acquired a homebrew beer kit company was introduced to Peter by an industry contact. After a good chat they decided to merge their respective homebrew businesses, calling themselves Brewcraft Ltd and focusing on wholesaling homebrew products in New Zealand.
SPL supplied Brewcraft in New Zealand (later to become Imake Ltd) with their first order of home distillation products.
Brewcraft Ltd, launched its first offshore establishment by acquisition of an existing homebrew company in Australia and the Australian wholesale business was quickly born. This is still Bevie’s largest market today!
Brewcraft Ltd started a joint venture wholesale operation in the UK focused around distribution of Still Spirits branded products.
Brewcraft Ltd launched its own range of beer kits (produced by SPL) to reduce their reliance on third party brand suppliers.
Brewcraft Ltd is renamed as Imake Ltd to position itself better in the DIY food industry. This was also the time that the Mad Millie brand started to be developed, launching late that year.
After three years’ research and development into ingredients and packaging technology, SPL & Imake launched a range of premium quality ‘pouch’ beer, and cider kits, under the brand Mangrove Jack’s.
The initial concepts for the Grainfather started to unfold after a research trip to Portland, Oregan to study ‘extreme brewers’. Meanwhile, SPL attained BRC grade ‘AA’, this is a retailer quality standard that ensures all ingredient products satisfy the quality, safety and operational criteria standards that the world’s top retailers demand. We are audited against this standard annually and still hold a ‘AA’ rating to this day.
Imake launch the Grainfather into New Zealand, with the rest of the markets following soon after. Imake also acquired a 50% share in SPL.
Philip Jones, founder of SPL still running the business at this time, sadly passed away after a short battle with illness, in the same year.
The Imake UK office and warehouse is established to further expand the brands into the UK and Europe.
Imake acquired remaining 50% share in SPL and become a wholly owned entity of the Imake group.
Imake selected a second European warehouse located in the Netherlands, due to start servicing the EU market directly early the following year.
Imake and SPL decide to merge their cultures and goals and start functioning as one enterprise. As part of this, they decide to go for a fresh new name which better represents the whole business, culture and what they are about – Bevie was born!
Bevie completes the acquisition of Ritchie Products Ltd, a well established UK homebrew wholesaler with a fantastic portfolio of own brand products. This acquisition was born from a great and longstanding relationship fostered between Ritchies and Bevie for over 20 years and is a great step forward for both businesses’ growth.