This is the ginger beer families all over New Zealand used to brew at home.
If you remember, many folks used to have a ‘bug’ or a ‘plant’ that they used to ferment home-made ginger beer. It had a distinctive ‘brewed’ taste and had a reputation for being volatile.
We started bottling Hakanoa ginger beers back in 2009, using the traditional method. That was after a lot of experimentation. Unfortunately they had a reputation for being volatile too. We eventually came to the conclusion that volatile ginger beer was an unworkable business model for our locale.
So we did a lot more experimenting and made it shelf-stable. It took us ages to get it to taste as good as the volatile stuff, but we got there in 2015.
We’re always experimenting and improving our work, but our signature flavour is still the traditional ginger beer we drank as kids.
- Filtered Water
- Organic Fairtrade Raw Sugar
- Fresh mature harvest Fijian Ginger
- Organic Sultanas
- Organic Dried Ginger
- NZ Meyer Lemon Juice – Not from concentrate
Made the hard way – what do you mean?
We brew our classic Dry Ginger Beer and our more zingy Lime & Chilli Ginger Beer with our own ‘bug’.
That’s how Rebekah was taught to make it as a child. The only thing we do differently now is we give the bottled brew a gentle hot-water bath so it stops fermenting. This means Hakanoa ginger beers won’t explode or develop too much alcohol like the old home-made stuff was inclined to do.
Our ‘bug’ is a culture of wild yeast and lacto bacilli.
Just the like the difference between a loaf of white sliced bread and a crusty sourdough baguette, our culture makes it’s own food acids that create tanginess and reveal the array of flavours in our mature Fijian ginger.
Just like a craft beer,
we make a mash of plant materials and add lots of water then our culture. We ferment the entire amount of liquid that we intend to bottle, slowly over several weeks. Once the ferment is complete, we transfer the brewed liquid into a big pressurised temperature controlled tank, leaving the mash behind. We make sure we have our signature flavour balance by adding a final touch of sugar & citrus juice, then the brew is chilled and extra carbonation added. It’s bottled and every bottle is given a hot-water bath so it stays stable and delicious for at least 18 months.
If your bottle of ginger fizz lists the first ingredient as carbonated water, you are actually drinking a flavoured soda. It might be flavoured with brewed ginger extract, even yeast. But it is compiled in a tank just a few hours before bottling and is a whole lot easier to make than ours.
Why choose Hakanoa?
First and foremost, our Ginger Beers taste great.
In fact, our latest brew of Dry Ginger Beer (BB April 2021) – is hands-down the best we’ve ever bottled.
It is the first batch we’ve made using the mature harvest Fijian ginger that we sourced direct from the growers in Navurevure, Fiji.
The flavour from ginger grown in the Fijian highlands and harvested right at the end of the growing season is rich and deep with a velvety heat. That flavour is beautifully tempered during our fermentation. Aromatic ginger lights up your palate at the first sip and lingers after each mouthful like the world’s best gingernut.
Even before this best-of-all batch, the judges of the Cuisine Artisan Awards awarded our Dry Ginger Beer best beverage in the 2015 competition. The judges in The Outstanding NZ Food Producers 2019 panel awarded the Dry Ginger Beer a bronze medal and the Lime & Chilli Ginger Beer a silver medal. We reckon they’d be even more impressed with the latest vintage.
Secondly, they’re not too sweet.
At 5.6 grams per 100ml, Hakanoa Ginger Beers sugar content is about half of Bundabergs 10.7 and Schweppes 11.3 grams. Those figures were taken from the NIP panel on both of their classic ginger beer flavours in March 2019.
Both Hakanoa Ginger Beers have the same sugar content – 18.6 grams per 330ml bottle – but the Lime & Chilli has a nice citrus zing up front that reveals the ginger, then ends with a little chilli tingle.
Next, they both make excellent sober driver drinks.
They are interesting and flavourful enough to replace wine or beer.
Not too bland, not too sweet, and they both pair very well with food.
No-one holding a Hakanoa feels like the only kid at the party.
Then, they’re made from just a handful of the-best-we-can-get ingredients.
Everything we make is certified gluten-free and sulphite-free.
We don’t use any preservatives in anything either.
Finally, we source those ingredients sustainably.
Organic fair-trade raw cane sugar, fresh Fijian ginger sourced via direct trade from farmers who we are helping transition to organic, organic sultanas, organic dried ginger, and Meyer lemon juice from Hawkes Bay.
We asked 385 people to try do a blind taste test of 5 different ginger beers, including our Dry Ginger Beer and some pretty well known brands.
37% picked ours as their favourite. The next best came in at 19%.
Here’s the full survey;
Where can I find them?
Use our subscription service.
This is our absolutely preferred way to get our ginger beers to the ginger-beer aficionados of New Zealand.
We’ve tried to do the supermarket thing, but frankly we are easily lost in the massive soft drink marketplace.
Just two flavours. The same two flavours for 10 years. Against the marketing budgets and huge ranges of the big boys, and the admirable enthusiasm of the several new soft drinker makers that emerge every year. Bit of an uphill struggle we’ve found.
A subscription means we are doing direct trade with you, and you’ll get the best possible price of $3.33 per bottle on your doorstep. The deal is for a regular order of a case of 24 bottles.
Order from our website.
For all the same reasons as above, the only difference is the pricing for a one-off order.
The case of 24 will work out at $3.75 per bottle plus a delivery fee.
If 24 is just too much ginger beer, we have lovely 4-packs which work out at $4 per bottle plus delivery.
Find your nearest stockist with our handy finder.
Type in your city or suburb and you’ll see all the stockists near you. You’ll pay a bit more and most of them only stock single bottles, but any purchase supports our business and we’re very grateful to those stockists for sticking with the genuine real proper goods.
There are a lot of cafes that serve our Chai but don’t necessarily stock our ginger beers as well. To make it easy, we’ve created a category so you can see just the ones that have ginger beer.
You can always ask the places that serve Hakanoa Chai to get our ginger beers in – they’re all really nice people in our experience 🙂