Live in Frodsham?

Live in Frodsham? A dream job is on offer – in “a corner of Paradise”

A FORMER Frodsham couple have come up with a job offer that could be hard to resist – working in a brewery in what they describe as a “corner of Paradise”.
And they would love it if someone from Frodsham was interested!
Karen and Neil Vowles now live in New Zealand, along with their sons Jake and Harry – former students at Helsby High School.
They all loved living in Frodsham – and they still love Frodsham. But in 2004 something happened which changed their lives. They went on a month-long holiday to New Zealand.
Karen takes up the story: “We fell in love with the
Coromandel Region – an area the size of Cheshire with 23,000 people and some stunningly beautiful beaches. “Within five days of our holiday we had bought a
five bedroomed beach house within 100 metres of the beach at a holiday resort called Matarangi.
“The house was as cheap as chips to us, coming over with British pounds and a really great exchange rate.
“The main reason it was cheap was because it had structural issues, mainly referred to as a ‘leaky home’ which meant the wooden frame of the house was made out of untreated timber.
“We read up about it, but thought ‘sod it, the house is huge and look at the location!’ We bought it!”
They decided to rent it out through an agency in New Zealand, as they did not know when they would be back.
It proved to be a good investment as each year it paid for a month’s holiday for the family in December.
Christmas was spent on the beach eating legs of smoked ham with kiwi fruit Pavlova to follow. A traditional Kiwi Christmas.!
In January they would rush the boys back to Helsby High School where teachers weren’t too happy about the two weeks lack of attendance in December.
Three years later a ‘what if ‘conversation started. What if they moved to New Zealand for a ‘bit of an adventure?’ There was no talk of emigration or leaving Blighty permanently. But they were all up for it.
Karen said: “It was agreed that if it didn’t work or we weren’t happy, we would come back and get back to our Cheshire life. It was a good life in Cheshire. In fact it was a great life, but who doesn’t want an adventure before you get too old? We were hungry for a change.
“A year later we had residency approval. Decision time was imminent. After a family pow wow we decided to jump right in.
“Fourteen years later we are still in NZ. We still live in the Coromandel, but now in a beautiful touristy village called Hahei, the gateway to the famous Cathedral Cove, marketed extensively by Tourism New Zealand.
“NZ has some spectacular beaches, however we know we live at one of the best in the country and visitors tell us so!
“Within a year of living here we really started to miss real beer. Sounds ridiculous but in 2008 the beer scene was terrible in Kiwiland. We decided to make beer ourselves at home – but this soon became an idea to start a little hobby business.
“Neil had brewed beers as a student and had continued all his adult life along with wine making. He looked at breweries for sale and found an old second hand system for sale in Canada. Money that had been earmarked for a boat was used for a brewery and everything changed so fast.
“We built a garage next to our house to install the brewery. We called it The Coromandel Brewing Company and soon we were supplying little local bars and cafes with our beers. We couldn’t make it fast enough!”
They decided to expand by opening a restaurant where they could sell their beer. An opportunity came up to purchase a little piece of land in Hahei near the beach, a site where there had been a restaurant that had burnt down.
They were not the highest bidder – it was 2012 and New Zealand was in the middle of a recession.
There were four bids but the old farmer who owned the land chose Neil and Karen because he was excited about having a brewery in the village.
Karen went on: “For the next two years we sold everything we could to open a restaurant andbrewery and to make it work. In July 2014 we opened The Pour House bar and brewery housing The Coromandel Brewing Company. We had no money left, no staff, but we were brewery number 20 in NZ. There are now over 300and counting.
“We have an extensive beer garden in a lush setting, designed by Neil who had designed several gardens both large and small in the Frodsham area.
“NZ has been very good to us but we have never worked so hard. The old farmer who sold us the land says the harder you work, the luckier you get and there is some truth in that I am sure.
“Until Covid hit us all we came back every year for our annual pilgrimage to Cheshire to visit family and friends and catch up on the goss. We love Cheshire and love Frodsham and will probably buy a bolthole in Cheshire when we retire/
“Our kids now in their mid twenties, Jake and Harry have adopted the Kiwi lifestyle and live nearby. They both work in the business. Jake is currently working on his own fabulous gin called The Coromandel Spirit and is selling it to other outlets. Harry is second brewer and the pizza guru. We make the best pizzas ever!
“We are a family business to the core and always looking for staff from October to the end of April. The lifestyle is super and we provide accommodation. Lots of friend’s children from the area have joined us and had a blast. If you fancy joining us let us know or just call in and say Hi! I am from Frodsham!”
You can contact Karen and Neil by emailing
If you would like to work in NZ you will need a Working Holiday Visa. Applications are now open.
Pictures: Top, The Pour House, below: The brewery.

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