New Brighton Good Life Guide: Cam Burgess of Southpaw
Cam Burgess is the co-owner and brewer of Southpaw Beers, a New Brighton brewery that's currently brewing in Hornby South for the time being. However, don’t let that fool you; Southpaw is New Brighton through and through, and their tagline, 'bringing flavour home', is a nod to their desire to open a brewery in New Brighton, where Cam grew up and where he and his partner Penny now raise their two boys Paeroa and Atakura.
We chatted with Cam about his Brighton memories and what he loves about living in this staunch coastal suburb.
How long have you lived in New Brighton?
My parents moved here before I was born—early 80's. I have three sisters and a brother. My parents took over the doctor's surgery in the mall. I've memories of sitting at the surgery while Mum and Dad were working, and I would go across the original Hellers and get free Cheerios from Todd Heller. Back then, there were three butchers in New Brighton Mall. We went to South New Brighton school and lived on Oram Ave. I'll never forget the old walking tracks that winded through people's properties to the beach.
Tell us about Southpaw and its alignment with New Brighton.
My wife Penny and I were inspired by the beer we tried while travelling through America. When we returned, I brewed at a few local breweries before I started Southpaw with Penny and two friends. Our range is American style, blended with the best local ingredients and methods. We currently brew in Hornby South but are slowly crafting our plan to move operations to New Brighton. As New Brighton people, we know what Brighton needs - a brewery that's a good spot to drink beer in the Brighton way. Good beer is something you can drink a few of and not get sick of. It's balanced, approachable and drinkable!
Where can people experience your beers in New Brighton?
There's a range at The Burger Joint - a proper local establishment, a place where you run into 20 people you know. They treat everyone like family. I love going to a place where the staff know customers’ names and what they like to order.
I also take our beer trailer to Common Ground Food Trucks Nights. It’s a relaxing family environment where kids can run around, and parents can relax with dinner and a drink—unreal dumpling soup from Pom's Thai and excellent curry sauce for the freezer.
Brighton Beach House has a little of our beers too, and they also pour a bit at The Bridge South Brighton for their events like Pie and Pint Night.
What's the best thing about living in New Brighton?
It's a great place for low-cost family living with heaps of free activities. There's a close local community vibe. I get along with my neighbours, and we know everyone; you stop and chat. It's just a really nice community feel.
What's your favourite thing to do in New Brighton?
Definitely a walk on the beach. You can't beat it. I walk every day with our dog, Mehrts. We used to have two dogs. RIP Jonah. It's always been our family tradition to name the dogs after footy players.
What are a couple of your favourite New Brighton rituals?
During the warmer months, we love getting fish in chips from North Beach Fish Supply on Bowhill Road (I’m a big fan of their homemade spring roll, and the corn patty on occasion) and walking with the dog down to Thomson Park.
We frequent the He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools as a family a bit. We have a season's local pass and sometimes hit up Saturdays after, as they've some decent healthy food.
Are there any community initiatives you are a part of?
On Monday mornings, my son Atakura and I, and a group of local dads and children, head to Taiora QEII for a swim. Insider tip - it’s free for under 5s during school hours. My other son, Paeroa has his lessons after school, so we head back in the afternoon. He’s obsessed with the hydroslide!
What is a local hidden gem we should check out?
I like going to the New Brighton Club and meeting my dad, uncle and sister. There's always a park; you can be an absolute mess in your work clothes, and no one cares. They're very friendly and treat us really well. There are also free paddle pops for the kids. I have a con, though; the claw-thing game is at the entrance to the pokies, and the kids love it. I feel it's a gateway gambling!
Are there any events that fill you with a great sense of pride?
Carnaby Lane Night Market is a mix of school kids, bands, stalls and all-round good New Brighton vibes. Paeroa did his first kapa haka performance with Rawhiti School at the most recent one, and it was great!
What most excites you about New Brighton’s future?
I hope that with all the new housing being built, the community can sustain a development in the mall. I also hope our brewery will be part of New Brighton, so I basically never have to leave the east side of town.
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