Growing up in South Australia, Sam discovered straight away his interest in wine and viticulture. A degree in Oenology at Adelaide University contributed to the last 12 years in the wine industry.
The wine world has taken him throughout Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, France and Spain. More recently, Sam has spent the last 6 years making wine in New Zealand before landing back in Australia in 2013 to continue his winemaking career making premium Pinot Noir in the Mornington Peninsula.
After 14 vintages with many longs days in the vineyard and winery the Hop Nation Project started to simmer – as many winemakers can attest to, a passion for wine usually ends up evolving into a passion for beer. Long days tasting through wine barrels, blends or ferments often calls to be washed down with a good craft beer.
From sitting around the backyard fire pit drinking the newest tweak on a porter recipe, or bootlegging the latest fresh hopped IPA to friends and family, has led to a more serious approach to brewing. Nothing like a collaboration of two mates who like to share a quality beverage.
Duncan led the simple life growing up in Gore the deep south of New Zealand. From these humble agricultural beginnings Dunc went on to study Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University In Christchurch. These were hazy days as many a drinking opportunity arrived and unlike other students at the university the Bachelor of V and O crew imbibed on more classy beverages exposing Duncan to great wine and beer. These years cemented his passion for beverage and on the completion of his degree led him around the word.
On his travels he has made wine in seven countries completing a total of 21 harvests by the time he was 29. After travelling to the states in 2006 the seed was planted and a new passion born, soon after home brewing commenced with mixed results!
Duncan and Sam’s brewing relationship started with rivalry, both brewing in the backyard, getting friends to taste the brews and coming up with a favourite beer. After years spent in different wine regions of the world, the two are reconvening in Melbourne and putting the rivalry aside. In recognizing that two beer-loving minds are better than one – they bring you Hop Nation Brewing Co.
Adding to the international mix – British Columbia-born and raised, Steph landed back in Canada via work and travels throughout some of the world’s great wine regions and now works for a premium Okanagan Valley winery in BC.
Steph crossed paths with Duncan and Sam by way of her husband – a Kiwi winemaker – and jumped on board the opportunity to help the boys launch the brand side of Hop Nation Brewing Co.
From a satellite office in Kelowna, Steph manages the design, web and social media side of the business and has tasted many a pilot brew en route to the real deal – she is currently taking restaurant recommendations for her next trip to Melbourne. 🙂
Although she ‘makes ads for her supper’, Monique has never strayed too far from her artsy roots, and outside the 9 – 5 hum she’s generally found with a paintbrush in one hand…and a beer in the other!
Growing up in the the roaring metropolis of Hamilton New Zealand, she made the move South to Canterbury in the early 2000’s. It was at Lincoln University where she met fellow Hop Nation-er Duncan. Flatting together saw Monique play guinea pig to some of Duncan’s very first wines, and also cemented a long friendship through homebrew ginger beer, huge roast dinners and general shenanigans.
It was during her time in Canterbury that Monique began to really nurture her passion for painting. After completing University she began to make her way back up the country, and before long found herself in Auckland – with a string of successful art exhibitions under her belt and buyers from all corners of the globe.
Hop Nation’s labels came as a welcome departure from Monique’s most recent work. The labels were intended to capture the essence of Hop Nation – punchy, cheeky and bold with a cool and unique street style.
Keen to see more of Mon’s stuff?