Kapiti friends fed up at reaction to their disabilities launch beer company

A group of friends in Kapiti have gone from struggling to find work, to being their own boss.

The members of the Independence Collective say prospective employers weren't giving them a fair shot, due to their intellectual disabilities.

"I applied for 20 jobs and didn't hear a peep back, so I decided to join the collective and start our own business," Janie Martin told Newshub.

So now they're starting at the top, and brewing their own beer in the hopes of gaining financial independence.

"It feels good - exciting," says Mr Martin.

"It's really great, it's good to be working in a collective," says Neville Pugh.

Owning the business means the group of friends can now do whatever project they want.

"I've done a few jobs, but I didn't raise enough money to do the things I wanted to do," says Cameron Stitchbury.

Brewing their own beer was at the top of the list.

"We, as a collective, thought this beer business is going to be awesome, great, just to get into the bigger wide community," says Mr Pugh.

The beer is set to be contract-brewed at Duncan's Brewery in Paraparaumu. The group then hopes to get it into supermarkets and liquor stores.

"It's sort of exciting knowing it's gonna be on the shelves of shops with other different beers from around the area," says Nathan Martin.

The group says it's not a charity, it's a business.

"We're not our disabilities. We're a collective. And we're here to give the community a taste of our beer," says Mr Pugh.

A PledgeMe campaign's been launched to help fund getting the beer off the ground, as well as securing an office space in Paraparaumu.

After the beer's been launched the team hopes to put their minds to other ventures, like using the spent grain to make muesli bars, or launching a fashion label.

"It's very fun getting different ideas from other people, and also putting our ideas together," says Mr Martin.


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