Young brewers growing New Zealand's first commercially available beer yeast

A couple of young brewers are growing New Zealand's first-ever commercially available beer yeast in a lab in downtown Wellington.

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They’re getting the nod from the big boys of Wellington beer. Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp reports the pair were trying to get into New Zealand's crowded beer market but were down on their luck, so changed tack to the most unappreciated of beer ingredients.

Until now, yeast - the little bug that makes all our beer possible - has all been imported. And it doesn't taste like home.

"Yeast hangs out on flowers and trees and berries. We're hoping that capturing the yeast that is used on these, we can capture some novel flavours unique to New Zealand," one of the young brewers said.

They're now on PledgeMe, an online crowdfunding site, raising money for their venture, called Froth, and are almost there.

And they've got the backing of Wellington's beer barons, including the Garage Project's own Pete Gillespie.

"We've been following them closely, seeing how the guys are going. At the moment no one is supplying fresh yeast like this in New Zealand," Mr Gillespie said.

Like other brewers, he has to import his yeast at great cost - but now he's using Froth's.

But the yeast business is far more dicey than it looks. The brewers risk losing it all on one bad batch.

Watch Julian Lee's report in the video above.