Kāpiti friends with intellectual disabilities look to create their own employment opportunities with craft beer label

From "benefits to beer barons", a collective made up of intellectually disabled Kiwis hopes to gain financial independence by launching their own craft beer label.

Frustrated by the lack of job opportunities six Kāpiti friends decided to become their own bosses by starting The Independence Collective.

One of the members, Janie Martin, joined after handing out 20 CVs into the community and not getting a single reply.

"I've been struggling with trying to get employment and it got to the point where it was just frustrating, and then this came along so I decided to jump on board," she told 1 NEWS.

Along with Janie, Paul Ashton, Cameron Stichbury, Nathan Martin, Tyler Johns and Neville Pugh make up the Independence Collective, who are fundraising to get their first batch of Neville Pale Ale brewed.

"Even though there is a member called Neville, it is not named after him," Nathan told 1 NEWS.

Their first beer has the name Neville because of its uniqueness and distinct characteristics they believe fit with the name.

The Neville will be brewed at Duncan's Brewery in Paraparaumu, and the group then hope to get it into supermarkets and liquor stores nationwide.

For the friends, The Independence Collective is not about their disabilities, it's about business owners brewing craft beer and selling it among some of the biggest brands in New Zealand.

The fact that they have a disability is secondary to that.

"People see us as people with disabilities, who can't do a lot of stuff, and this is sort of putting it out there that we’ve got disabilities, but, yes we can do a lot of what everyone else can do," said Janie.

In order to make their craft beer dreams come true they launched a Pledgeme campaign, to raise $50,000.

The money will be spent on the development and brew of the first batch of Neville, a small office space, a coolstore, and to buy office furniture and items essential to the running of the business.

After Neville, they hope to launch a second beer, Jolene, as well as their own online fashion label.

Frustrated by the lack of job opportunities, The Independence Collective hope to gain financial independence by selling craft beer. Source: 1 NEWS