How did you come to found B.Effect?

I came to the beer world by accident.  Having come back from a few years overseas working on Yachts around the world I had been exposed to the cider scene in the UK.  Not seeing the need to finish my University studies that I was no longer interested in - a double in Management and Psychology - I set about starting a building apprenticeship so I would be able to work in Wanaka. 

I had some time before I started building so I went to make cider, but it was spring in NZ and their wasn't any fruit so a friend suggested I practice with beer to get the process right.

This then set me on a path of always trying to reach perfection, but with so many variables in beer making there is always a way to improve which I love.  I'm really lucky that my job is to create and make beer, and almost everyone is excited by beer.  The challenges associated with creating, starting and running your own business keeps me incredibly busy, and at times stressed but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been a process of 5 years where I have become a qualified builder, and retired from it in the same year and went full time into my goal of making B.Effect the best brewing company in Central Otago. 

The Breca Wanaka entrants all received a bottle of B.Effect Hop'n Roll at the finish line, what makes it such a great swimrun beer?

Our Hop'n Roll was envisioned as a American Pale Ale and has morphed into a American IPA over time.  What I think you really need after 42km of running, and 8km's of swimming is some good nutrients for the body, and the mind.  You've done water - there's heaps in the lake and you've probably drunk most of it.  A beer is perfect to help you recuperate, and talk over the best and hardest parts of the race and bond with your fellow race mates.  

I think the Breca Wanaka Swimrun is great, and we're so lucky to have it in Wanaka - it resonates with everything we love about this place.  It was so good to see these people out there on the day having fun and giving it everything.  It reminds me of the craft beer world.  After everyone has competed with each other, they then sit down to have a beer and compare their stories from the day.  

What's next for you and the business?

What you might see next year is we're putting our range into cans, and we've got the first beer out in cans our new 'Wanaka Lager'.  It's a Vienna style Lager, and is perfect for the spectators!  We've also been working on our Central Otago beers made with Wine Yeasts, we've released the first two of these one-off beers from what we've called the 'Central Otago Wine & Ale Series'. 

James Hay founded B.Effect in February 2015 after moving to Wanaka to be closer to the mountains and the lake.  B.Effect crafts modern Central Otago beers for the mountains, the lake, and the batch. From sessionable hop forward IPA's to Central Otago Ales made with Wine Yeast. Change is our only constant and we're inspired by Edward Lorenz's Butterfly Effect; 'small changes can cause great effects'. Find out more at