At Shining Peak Brewing, we proudly take our name from our province – Taranaki. In Te Reo Māori, tara means mountain peak and naki is thought to come from ngaki meaning shining – referring to the mountain’s winter snow cover.
Our beers are brewed onsite at 59 Gill Street by Head Brewer Jesse Sigurdsson and team. It’s here you can sample our range of beers straight from the tap, enjoyed with food from our eatery, prepared by award winning Head Chef – Freddie Ponder. We also have a bit of spiritual nourishment in mind too, which is why we dedicate 5% of beer revenues to local charities and organisations.
Head Brewer and Director of Beer
Our award-winning Head Brewer comes from the bright lights of Inglewood. A discerning beer connoisseur, Jesse's no slouch on the tools, having won numerous NZ and international beer awards. But don’t be fooled, Jesse's talents aren't limited to brewing. He once skulled a 4-litre pitcher of iced water to win a $500 bet. Given he's half Icelandic, we think it's no coincidence that Iceland legalised beer in 1989, the very year Jesse was born.
Freddie Ponder is a passionate chef, husband, father and surfer. Great breweries need great food, and to get great food you need great chefs. Although we might be a bit biased here at Shining Peak, Freddie has the accolades and experience to match. From working at some of the world’s top restaurants to winning major awards including Silver Fern Farms awards and serving multiple tenures as a New Zealand Beef and Lamb Ambassador. That's an accolade reserved for the elite of the elite (one of only five named in New Zealand). There's a little irony here - at home, Freddie doesn’t eat meat, as his wife is vegetarian. Get ready to sit down, enjoy a brew and let Freddie take care of your appetite.
Director of Hospitality
Mention hospitality in New Plymouth and inevitably the name of Ajinkya - better known as "AJ" - pops up. Growing up in Mumbai, India, AJ made the daunting move to New Zealand in 2005 to study hospitality. He met a local Taranaki girl, fell in love, and the rest, as they say, is history. We’re all much better off for having him here. While he's an extremely nice guy, you'd be advised not to muck him around. AJ once fought and trained for a corporate boxing fight in front of 1500 people and he still likes to throw on the gloves.
Front of House Manager
Our Front of House Manager, Luke Anderson, is a bit of a legend in the New Zealand hospitality world. We think that's kind of fitting given he grew up in a small Scottish town called Forres, right next to the Loch Ness monster. Immersing himself in hospitality from a young age, Luke's worked all around the world, picking up numerous awards on his travels. All this recognition culminated in his current role as a national judge for the New Zealand Hospitality Awards. It's safe to say, Luke knows what he's doing. Better still, for a party trick that's on point with his profession, he can carry 25 glasses at once - just with his hands! Great for when we're busy at Shining Peak.