Lion Breweries is looking to save tap beer in New Zealand pubs by making specialist brews. Managing director, Roger North, unveiled the new Brewmaster beer this week saying it was important to get people drinking tap beer. "We believe in taps," he told just-drinks.com. "It is fresher but if it is not kept well it tastes worse than bottles and that drives people away. If we don't have taps, we don't need pubs which could see the end of much beer drinking." Lion, which makes Steinlager, Red, Brown and Speights, will also be introducing quality awards to pubs who keep their taps well. The Brewmaster range will see a new beer every four months but will not get a big budget marketing push. Instead publicans will be encouraged to spread the word. Lion's Six Malt Beer is part of the Brewmaster range and it was launched this week. It combines five varieties of malted barley with malted oats and Manuka honey to create a dark and rich beer. Lion describes it as "a 4.5% ale-style dark rugby winter beer". It will only be available at about 100 pubs although Lion is looking to expand this number. "You might ask why Lion is messing with something that will never really be viable financially," said North. "We want to improve the image of tap beer in New Zealand and bring people back to tap beer."David Robertson