The Beer Man - B.Effect

A photo of James Hay.

James Hay

It’s not uncommon for James Hay to look around a restaurant and see who’s drinking beer. That’s because as the sole owner/operator of B’Effect brewing company, it’s important to know what’s filling the glasses of local drinkers.

What’s your background?

After some overseas time spent working on super yachts, I came home to Christchurch where I started experimenting in home brewing and found the love for the process that is beer making. That led on to working at Hop Baron in Christchurch as part owner and brewer, before making the call to move down here to Wanaka in 2014.

Why have you invested in Wanaka?

I’ve always wanted to live in Wanaka to be honest. I've been coming here every summer since I can remember, and when I realized there was nothing to stop me living and making beer here, the choice was easy.  B.Effect aims to fill the need for quality craft beers in Wanaka that can be enjoyed out on the lake, up the mountains or after a ride through Sticky Forest.  We simply enjoy making good beer for good people, and there seems to be no shortage of them in Wanaka.

We also make a range of beers we call 'Central Otago Ales'.  These are beers that we ferment with a red wine yeast; which is super unique and we believe we're the only brewing company focusing on this in NZ.  The wine yeast contributes a fruity upfront aroma and taste, and combines with the malt and hops to make great beers. Even all the B.Effect labelling has been put together by local guy John Griffiths.

How would you summarise B.Effect?

We believe that ‘small changes can cause great effects’, and our name is based off Edward Lorenz's Butterfly Effect. Small changes throughout the brewing process can really impact on the final product, so with slight tweaks on hops, yeast and grains, we can make sure there’s always a real quality beer at the end, like our Central Otago Ales made with red wine yeasts.  At B.Effect, we want people to have a good time drinking our beer, and with Pop ‘n Pils lager winning the gold medal at the 2017 Brewers Awards, and Mojo Pin Central Otago Ale picking up a Silver, it seems people definitely are!

Where can we get a taste?

Urban Grind, Cork, Kai Whaka Pai, Francesca's, Fitzy’s, The White House and Bistro Gentil are all Wanaka hot spots that stock B’Effect, or you can find us at any of the bottle stores, including New World.

James's Neat Places