Project management

You had us at beer… How Beca helped create Emerson’s a new home

Psoda blog author avatar
5 September 2017

Helping to create a new “spiritual home” for an iconic brand would be a dream mission for many project teams. To also transform a derelict coal yard site into a stunning new attraction where beer lovers could taste, touch, smell, celebrate and discover a well-loved craft brew?
Pour us another and let’s get started!
In the second showcase of finalists in this year’s Psoda Project of the Year Award, we examine Project Benaud.
This project, a joint venture between Emerson’s Brewing Company and Beca, aimed to build a new Emerson’s brewery and taproom in Dunedin.
We’re proud to be sponsoring the Project of the Year Award at the 2017 New Zealand Project Management Awards, which will be presented at the 2017 PMI New Zealand Conference in September. The award recognises the success of a project and the project team, for the superior performance and execution of exceptional project management.


Lion, the owner of Emerson’s Brewery, wanted to create a new “spiritual home” that would celebrate the uniqueness of Emerson’s and let people taste, touch, smell, celebrate and discover this iconic craft brewer.

The project

Designed to be a haven for beer lovers, the new Emerson’s brewery and taproom in Dunedin would feature a new brewery, cellar door, warehouse, offices, site tours, and a bar and restaurant that perfectly matches great beer with great food. It turned an old industrial site into a fully functioning brewery, taproom and restaurant.
The project team consisted of almost 30 people with representatives from Emerson’s, Lion and Beca. Subject matter experts from Ignite Architects and Southern Hospitality were also involved in the public area fit-out and kitchen design.
To deliver this complicated project, the project team used intensive planning throughout early phases, a clear project delivery methodology, well-orchestrated communication and collaboration between stakeholders, use of leading-edge building information modelling (BIM) software and creating a high-performance team culture.
There were a number of challenges associated with delivering this project:

  1. Keeping continuity in brewery production throughout the relocation of the existing brewery with no ability to stock build. During construction the additional demand of ‘first ferment’ on the site became essential to achieve brewery migration from the existing site. This was particularly awkward as it was three months in advance of its originally intended commissioning date and it brought brewing operations including operators, live services and chemicals into the project construction site. Despite all the challenges of this project, the early first ferment date was achieved, first brew was achieved only five days later than planned and the initial soft public opening of the Taproom occurred on time.
  2. Resolving site contamination issues to provide a safe construction environment and safe public outdoor space with the spare land
  3. Navigating and negotiating the numerous legal, consenting, geotechnical and archaeological issues encountered on the site, many of which were caused from the land being reclaimed from the harbour
  4. Delivering a diverse range of highly functional facilities (i.e. the brewery, warehouse, offices, restaurant, and cellar door), all on a tight budget and within a small area to provide a welcoming and immersive experience for visitors
  5. Creating a highly-crafted facility that aligns with Emerson’s brand and provides a long-term spiritual home.


The new $22.4 million Emerson’s Brewery in Dunedin opened in June 2016 with brewing capacity increased from 1 million litres to 2.5 million annually, with the potential to expand to 8 million litres.

Why it was selected as a finalist

Project Benaud was selected as a finalist because it was a very well executed, text book project. The client stated “we contracted Beca to transform a derelict coal yard site into a stunning attractive facility which will be our permanent spiritual home for the Emerson’s brand”.  The Beca team did a great job of interpreting the requirements of the project, and delivering a solution consistent with the Emerson’s identity. In managing the project, Beca helped create a new destination for Dunedin, new jobs for the community, and have future-proofed Emerson’s for many years to come.

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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