If you’ve ever ordered a crisp, ice-cold cider at a bar, chances are you’ve savoured some of New Zealand’s finest from Kiwi-owned company, Zeffer.

The brainchild of Auckland winemaker, Sam Whitmore and his partner Hannah Bower, Zeffer started back in 2009. At the time, the business was producing a mere 3000 litres for the local farmers’ market in Matakana – and today, just ten years later, Zeffer has drastically increased its production and now services more than 300 outlets in New Zealand and exports to nine markets. 

Josh Townsend, Zeffer’s Chief Executive Officer.

So how did Zeffer transition from a local passion project to a global exporter? Chief Executive, Josh Townsend, asserts hard work, perseverance and the support provided by Auckland, Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland’s economic growth which works on behalf of Auckland Council.

Whether you’re a business that’s already exporting, or you’re ready to test international markets, ATEED is connected with thousands of businesses and organisations that can help make your journey easier.



ATEED specialises in connecting businesses to the right help, at the right time. When it comes to growth strategies, Jane Finlayson, ATEED’s Manager Business and Enterprise says, “One of the key things business owners’ struggle with is knowing who they should  talk to next. Every business has its own unique set of offerings and circumstances, and therefore challenges, when it’s considering growth, so having someone who understands the ecosystem is a big step in the right direction.”

While a lack of time and planning, cash flow, capital and skill shortages are common constraints to business growth, Jane emphasises that every case – and every business – is different. 

“Some businesses might be well established in New Zealand and have successful operations domestically so they can scale quite easily, while others can’t and will need to look at different business models which allow them to grow and prosper,” she says.

Typically, when businesses are scaling up they face challenges around skilled recruitment, export channels and getting access to funding.

Yet, while growing and innovating a business is challenging for many owners – knowing what kind of help is available can make all the difference. ATEED’s Business & Enterprise team includes nine Business and Innovation Advisors who can help you find the right connections and support services to grow your business. They’ll assess your unique needs, help you plan your next steps, and connect you with the right networks and contacts.

ATEED delivers this free to Auckland’s business community as part of the Regional Business Partner Network (RBPN) programme, which is supported by government agencies Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

Zeffer Cider is being poured from more than 80 taps in bars in China.

As part of the Regional Business Partner programme, eligible businesses can gain access to:

  • A conversation with a Business and Innovation Advisor to talk about the challenges and opportunities for growing and innovating your business.
  • Connections to support, experts, and other businesses.
  • Access to workshops and upcoming events.
  • Support accessing co-funding – including RPBN Capability Development Vouchers from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and R&D Grants for Research and Development from Callaghan Innovation.
  • Business mentors and networks. 

In the case of Zeffer, ATEED helped accelerate the cider company’s overseas exports by facilitating NZTE Capability Development Vouchers to work with experts to grow their capability in the areas of capital raising, business strategy and developing a brand strategy.  

Josh Townsend says “I’m a firm believer that you’ve got to put yourself out there and network with support organisations. Until you do, you have no idea of the extent of support they (ATEED and government agencies) can offer,” he says. “They can provide a huge amount of resource. In the case of ATEED and NZTE you build strong relationships with your advisors and managers and they’re upfront about the areas you can improve on. That’s really important.” 

Zeffer is just one of the many Kiwi businesses that have benefited from ATEED’s networks and connections. Find out how ATEED can support you to grow your business, or call here to get in touch with our business consultants on 09 365 0510