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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tap Handle #467: Moa - Pale Ale

Tap size:  12"
Rarity: Very Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap is a little more detailed than some of the other "fist" taps (such as Revolution or Iron Fist). I'm not certain how it is tied thematically to the brewery - perhaps the fist and armband are a symbol of the native Maori culture - it certainly doesn't seem to have anything to do with the large, flightless (and extinct) bird the brewery is named after. I'm also unsure why it is a charcoal black color - but it is certainly a great-looking tap. This tap is used for all of Moa's varieties, with heavy-duty vinyl sticky-back labels that attach to the armband (great candidates for DIY magnets I've discussed in a previous post) . Since the tap is from a foreign brewery, it can get a little expensive, but occasionally bargains can be found.

Click through to read more about Moa Brewing, their Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this striking tap...

The Moa Brewing Company was founded in Marlborough, New Zealand in 2003 by Josh Scott. The son of renowned Marlborough winemaker Allan Scott, Josh seemed destined as a winemaker when at 15 he traveled to France for two years and Napa Valley for years to learn more about wine. However, after sampling craft beers he returned home determined to try his hand at brewing beer. At 22 he brewed his first Moa beer, which he named after the huge flightless birds (now extinct), when Josh hand delivered early trial brews to archaeologists working a Moa bone dig near the brewery. Though his parents were against it, Josh persevered, and found some early success.

In 2008, the cashflow from the winery could no longer sustain the brewery. Josh found an infusion of capital in 2010 by partnering with ex-42 Below founders Geoff Ross, Grant Baker and Stephen Sinclair, who had sold 42 Below to Bacardi for $138 million. Under the management of the new partners, the company saw sales volume grow by 37 per cent into 2011. Moa turned to exporting to generate profits, with exports to 7 countries making up 30% of their revenue. In 2012 the company went public with an IPO to raise capital for expansion, specifically for a new $6.1 million brewery. The IPO was over-subscribed by 124%, so Moa easily raised the $16 million it wanted. However, by 2013 Moa had not broken ground on its new brewery, sales were down, and its share price fell to half of its peak. The brewery construction was delayed by neighbors (including a vineyard) that opposed the expansion, citing concerns over traffic, noise, water, wastewater and odor. The Marlborough District Council granted consent with conditions, but opponents appealed. The brewery turned to contract brewing to support production.

As if those struggles weren't enough, Moa had problems with a distributor who did not meet their expectations, which negatively impacted sales and forced their stock to drop further, although forecasts look good for the brewery to turn things around,especially considering the numerous awards their beers have won. In 2013, Moa opened Bar of Arrr at San Francisco's Pier 29, a pirate-themed, spacious pop-up bar near the America's Cup finish line to follow the race, and it closed when the race ended.

Moa brews super premium handcrafted beers with a focus on local ingredients, including internationally renowned New Zealand hops. Most of their beers use winemaking techniques, such as bottle conditioning: a small amount of active yeast and priming sugar is added to the brew just before bottling (like Champagne). This traditional technique naturally carbonates the beer, significantly enhances shelf life and longevity, creates dynamic and complex flavors that change over time (like a good wine), and gives the beer an elegant, champagne-like mouthfeel. They also produce a hard apple cider called Weka.

Moa Pale Ale is an American-style pale with an easy drinking balance. A blend of Crystal and Pale Ale malts are complemented by Kohatu, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade and Motueka hops, producing a beer with toasty malt flavors and earthy, yet tropical fruit hop tones.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.42 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  85 out of 100 (very good)

Moa Brewing Company
Jacksons Road, RD3
Blenheim, New Zealand 7301

Source Material
Moa Brewing website

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