Tuatara: ‘We’re changing the shareholding, not the recipe’

DB Breweries buys New Zealand craft brewery, Tuatara Brewing Company

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Tuatara Brewing's namesake is a rare reptile found only in New Zealand. Pic: iStock/CreativeNature_nl
Tuatara Brewing's namesake is a rare reptile found only in New Zealand. Pic: iStock/CreativeNature_nl

Related tags New zealand Beer

Heineken subsidiary DB Breweries has bought New Zealand craft brewery Tuatara Brewing Company. 

One of New Zealand’s largest craft breweries, Tuatara was established in 2000 and is based in Paraparaumu on New Zealand’s North Island. In 2016, it produced more than 2m liters of beer.

The brewery has spent the last two years focusing on innovation, increasing brewing capacity, and breaking into international markets.

Carl Vasta, Tuatara’s founder, says the decision to join DB Breweries was ‘not taken lightly’ but will allow the company to move to the next level. DB offers greater resources to help introduce Tuatara and New Zealand craft beer to a wider domestic and international audience, he added.

Blair Harley, national sales manager, Tuatara, added, “This is an exciting time for Tuatara. We have made some ground going it alone but with the backing of DB we truly believe we can take Tuatara and Kiwi craft beer to the global stage.”

Tuatara will continue to produce beer from its premises on the Kapiti Coast and pilot brewery, The Third Eye, in Wellington.


The tuatara is a reptile unique to New Zealand, pronounced ‘too-ah-tar-ah’.

Tuatara beer is found across New Zealand, in bars, restaurants, bottle stores and supermarkets. Other markets include Australia and Hong Kong. 

tuatara inset

Carl Vasta says he is committed to being part of Tuatara and its future growth, and will step back from the business side of the brewery in order to concentrate on producing its beer. “We’re changing the shareholding, we’re not changing the recipe,” ​he said.

Simone Vasta will continue as logistics manager and their son, brewer Adam Vasta, will stay on at the Kapiti Coast site.

‘All the characteristics for success in the global marketplace’

Andy Routley, managing director, DB Breweries, says that Tuatara is passionate about great beer, has a focus on quality and innovation, and believes that its beers have all the necessary characteristics for continued success in the local and global marketplace.

“I have a great deal of respect for what Carl and the team have achieved and we are excited to be able to tap into their craft beer knowledge and experience,” ​he said.

“We want to see Tuatara achieve its full potential, so we’re not going to mess with a winning formula,” ​he added. 

Tuatara's Facebook message to fans:

“The local craft beer scene is growing rapidly, and in the last five years, we have hardly stopped for a breath. This has been one of the most exciting and challenging times in our business… we have been able to continue being an integral part of this amazing surge in craft beer popularity.

“With the investment and support that DB offers we can continue on this path, making the best craft beer we can for you, and introducing more Kiwis and other people who aren’t Kiwis, to the delights and intrigues of New Zealand craft beer. We think that’s a pretty good outcome.”

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