Nelson’s Founders Brewery and Founders Cafe are for sale with owners Carol and John Duncan saying it is time for someone else to build the business.

The brewery was one of the first in New Zealand to brew certified organic beer and the cafe has been a popular drawcard at Founders Heritage Park.

Speaking at Founders Heritage Park yesterday Mr Duncan said he was looking forward to a break after 11 years of working seven days a week.

The cafe will close on Sunday, but the brewery will remain open through the week.

“The foundations have been laid, and the business is ready and waiting for someone to take it to the next level,” Mrs Duncan said.

“We have had a great time and are so proud of what we have achieved, but now we feel the business is ready to be taken to the next stage and for someone else to put their stamp on it.”

The Duncan family have a history of more than 160 years brewing in the Nelson region and John and Carol’s sons, Matt and Callum, who are sixth-generation brewers, have been heavily involved in the business, which started in 1999. Their other children Sholto, Niall and Rosemary have also worked in the business.

The Duncans said it has been a privilege “to work together, share a common goal and grow together with Founders Heritage Park”.

Mr Duncan said they had not had a fight in the 11 years they were in business.

It was great to see Founders Park which “has been their life” growing with new tenants and looking so healthy for the future. They would miss the other tenants who were “like family”, Mrs Duncan said.

The brewery’s organic status has been part of its trademark as well as its family’s long links to brewing in the Nelson region.

Mrs Duncan said it has won more than 50 international beer awards, including Champion Small Brewery 2002 and 2005 AIBA, Champion Small Beer, several “Best In Class” trophies and numerous environmental and innovation awards.

The brewery makes 60,000 to 80,000 litres of beer a year.

“I feel that we have gone as far as we can go with the business and if we wanted to go any further and bigger someone else can do that and take it to the next stage, someone that’s really clever with marketing and got experience in sales and distribution,” Mrs Duncan said.

She said it was a hard decision to sell, but something she had first thought about two years ago.

“There’s never a right time to sell,” she said. “But the right time was when I felt ready.”

She said the family was still committed to Nelson.

Mr Duncan said he had boxes of material on the history of brewing in Nelson and his family’s role in the industry and one of the things he wanted to do was write a history on it.

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