Whistling Sisters the latest in Wellington's brewpub boom

It's no secret that Wellingtonians love their craft beer and now a new trend is starting to take over the city.

Brewpubs make all their beer onsite, and serve it there and then - and new ones are starting to pop up all over the bustling Cuba Quarter.

Whistling Sisters is the latest addition, opening on Friday to huge crowds.

"Whether you're a big commercial brewer or a small family-owned business like we've got here, there's a spot for everybody," says general manager Bede Roe.

The opening marks the pinnacle of an emotional journey for the brewery, which was launched to raise funds for breast cancer research, after co-founder Russel Scott's daughter passed away in 2015.

They've called their pub The Fermentery and have set up shop in the old Salvation Army building in the heart of Te Aro.

"I'm absolutely proud, we've had over 10 months of development to get where we are today."

Within a 15-minute walking radius of the Newshub Wellington bureau, there are 13 craft beer bars. 

Of those, seven are brewpubs and four of those  - Husk, Fortune Favours, Heyday and now Whistling Sisters - have opened since January 2017.

Each of them sells its own beer, its own environment and its own story in a bid to attract customers, but Roe says they complement each other and don't see each other as competitors.

"We get on very well with each other," he says. "It's like a proper little neighbourhood.

"You'll often see brewers running around Ghuznee Street with jars, wanting to borrow some sugar or yeast or certain ingredients."

Martin Craig has been blogging about beer for 25 years, so he's seen a fair few trends come and go - but he says this one shows no signs of slowing down.

"Owning a brewpub means you control the quality of the beer and the cashflow, right from making it, until it comes out of the tap," he told Newshub.

Craig says brewpubs let small brands serve their own neighbourhood - and take on the big internationals.

"If you've got a brewery, you need to sell your beer, and the obvious and simplest way to do that is sell it on the premises, rather than fight for other brewery space on the shelves."

But it is catching the attention of the big brewers.

Next month, another brewpub is set to open on Cuba Street. Brewing giant DB is launching a new drinking hole for its craft beer brand, Black Dog.

And with the financial backing of Heineken, it could be tough competition for smaller, local brewhouses. 

Not that customers are concerned. One told Newshub on Whistling Sisters' opening night that competition would mean the prices stay right and the quality high.

Cheers to that!