What do you get when you cross a Sardinian artist with strawberry rosé?
A mural, of course. Oh, and a can of cider.
As many of you know, Crave café has an ongoing mission to “do good in the hood” – which means they’re always on the lookout for new ways to make Morningside a better place to live.
One of their (many) projects is to help fill the walls of Morningside with incredible murals. Turn any corner in Morningside now and you’ll be greeted by unique and eclectic art; everything from the Blue Lady to the Pūtangitangi ducks to the Creation of Adam.
Another of their projects is to make really good cider; something they’ve been doing at the Morningcidery since 2018.
So, when Morningcider started producing their most popular ciders for supermarkets, it just made sense to put the two together. After all, this street art is too good for the street alone.
In late 2019 Morningcider teamed up with Urbanaut brewing and released their first cans – their Apple IPA and their straight cider. They’re the coolest cans you’ll ever hold in your hand.
Member of the Crave collective and Master brewer Tim Shallard says the local street art was a perfect design for their product. After all, these brews aren’t your usual tipple. Just like the murals, each batch tells a story. They’re also sweetened with natural flavours (rather than piles of sugar) and a reflection of the many creative folk involved in the process.
A work of art, you might say – one that speaks from the heart of the Crave mission.
Not surprisingly, these brews taste as good as they look. Both the Apple IPA and cider have flying off the shelves since their release in November. They’re in hot demand in craft beer bars all over New Zealand, from Auckland right throughout Wellington and the South Island. Several local supermarkets are now stocking Morningcider cans, with their sixth run of production scheduled for next month.
And it’s not just New Zealand cracking into these cans. Morningcider have just sent their first international exports to Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Clearly, it was time to add another brew to the line-up. And their new Strawberry Rosé – one of their most popular drinks – was the perfect choice.
Made with strawberry juice and a base of apple cider, Tim describes it as a “refreshing apple cider with a hint of strawberry and a beautiful blush pink colour.”
“Everyone just loves pink drinks in the summer – pink isn’t just a feminine thing. It’s got the perfect summer vibe. It’s everything you’d expect from a rose.”
Of course, when it came to launching their scarlet cider, they needed a design that fit just right. Something pink and fun, maybe an apple, strawberry, roses…
A new work of art was called for. And that’s how they ended up commissioning their first mural.
And, as luck would have it, the person for the job was right in their own kitchen at Crave.
Now Francesca the artist/barista has just completed Morningside’s newest mural – and also the design for Morningcider’s new Strawberry Rosé can.
Who is Francesca Melis?
Francesca is from Sardinia, a large Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. Having spent her childhood reading, painting and creating (technology wasn’t a thing in her small village), it’s only natural she grew up to be an artist. Francesca completed a diploma in Classical Studies before moving into photography, one of many strings in her artistic bow. It was while living in London that Francesca met a lovely Kiwi bloke. The pair took a holiday to New Zealand and decided to settle here. Like most creatives, Fran knows how to make a good coffee – so she was quickly snapped up by Crave café as their new barista. Crave turned out to be the perfect environment: quirky, caring, and brimming with good vibes. “What I Iove about Crave is the community spirit, how they take care of others, and how it allowed me to meet and make friends with lots of interesting people,” says Francesca. It wasn’t long before the Crave crew realised lattes weren’t the only thing Francesca was good at. “We’d seen her art on Instagram and we knew she takes incredible photos. Lots of people were saying to us, “Oh, Fran’s amazing, get her to do something!” says Tim. Much of Francesca’s art is inspired by flowers. Perfect for the funky, offbeat flavour of the area – and for the new Morningcider brew. She loves everything about plants, blooms, and bouquets – partly, she says, because they remind her of home.
“She’s got a very specific, funky style, which was exactly what we were looking for,” says Tim.
The Crave crew sat down for a chat about creating a new mural that embraced the “pink and fun” vibe of the Strawberry Rose.
The result is quintessential Morningside: a dream-like instalment bursting with fruit and flowers.
If you haven’t yet, go check out Francesca’s spectacular artwork in Morningside now. And, while you’re at it, grab a can of the equally spectacular Strawberry Rose.
As Tim says, there’s much, much more to this enterprise than paint and booze. It’s a movement that’s bringing a whole community together.
“As soon as you tell people it’s a local thing, they get really excited. It’s a cool thing for them to be a part of and connect with,” he says.
You can see more of Francesca’s art here.