"I thought the event was a great success - well done Kevin and Chris...events aren't easy - but they nailed it"

Chris Ramsey,
Chief Executive, ILT


It was early 2017 and our planning for the inaugural Hop’n’Vine festival had hit a small snag. We had beer, we had food but we no longer had a venue. We outgrew the Scottish Hall and our plans to utilise the then derelict Southland Times building were scuppered before they really got off the ground. So there we were, a matter of weeks away from our 01 April launch date without a venue and with hope fading fast.

I don’t recall exactly how it happened, no doubt we ambushed him somehow, but we found ourselves in a meeting with then ILT Marketing Manager Chris Ramsey, a meeting that was about to change our fortunes considerably. Hop’n’Vine and the ILT may seem like strange bedfellows to some, but on the other hand, also a prefect match.















It would be fair to say the perception of the ILT was very much about them being aligned to mainstream beers such as Speights and DB, so I guess there was a reluctance for us to approach them initially, but when we met Chris, the synergies were clear from the start.

Our initial vision, and still one we still rate highly, was for Hop’n’Vine to showcase alternative beers, beers that simply weren’t available in bars in and around the region. We thought this might be a stumbling block with the ILT, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Chris explained to us that the ILT was not about beer, they were about hospitality, and big events in the city, regardless of who ran them, generated business for everyone.

Chris made a few phone calls, one of which was to Nigel Skelt at the stadium and before we new it, we had a venue. Nigel and his team couldn’t have done more for us and the event was up and running again.

Our relationship with Chris and the team at the ILT didn’t end there; we also realised we had a lot of beer but only about two taps to pour it from; in stepped Chris again and we struck a deal with the ILTs Centrepoint Liquorland to provide sponsorship and some taps…. Saved again!

Our 2017 event remains a special one to us, not just because it was the first one, but because it resulted in lasting partnerships with key sponsors that continue to grow to this day. Both the ILT and Stadium Southland are important parts of the Hop’n’Vine family and are a great example of how sometimes parties with slightly different outlooks can find common purpose and work together to create something that is pretty impressive.

We still stick by our core values which is to showcase and promote craft beer in the region and sometimes that is at odds with the ILT business model and approach, but we continue to work in partnership with them as that is the best way to move forward. We don’t always agree, but we do always talk, so this is no marriage of convenience, it is valued partnership that is now in its 5th year, and we hope it continues for many years to come.

We have also been lucky to have continued relationships with other key suppliers and in 2019 welcomed iHire on board who have provided fencing for our beer garden and in 2020, Massav production joined the team. These relationships are so important to us, nothing is a problem for them, and it is that easy going attitude that takes so much of the stress away from organising an event.

We are so grateful to all our event partners and sponsors, we value you, we support you and we look forward to many more years working with you.

If you are interested in joining our team as a sponsor or festival partner, please email us at hopnvine@xtra.co.nz.  

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