South African Breweries is a major brewery based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was a wholly-owned subsidiary of SABMiller until its interests. Its cider business, led by Strongbow Apple Ciders, also saw strong growth in South Africa. Clarens Brewery is one of the first breweries in South Africa and is located in Distillery, at the foot of the Maluti Mountains. Founded in 1820, Newlands Brewery is the oldest operating brewery in South Africa and is home to some of the best beers in the country.
In December 2004, SAB Ltd acquired 100% of Amalgamated Beverage Industries Limited (ABI), which became the soft drink division of SAB Ltd and created the largest beverage company in South Africa. For more than a century, South African Breweries (SAB) has been the dominant force in the South African beer industry. In 1955, the South African government introduced a heavy tax on beer products, which caused many consumers to switch to spirits. Gregor Borinc drinks Redd's Original from South African Breweries at Peter Pan Beach Lodge & Italian restaurant.
A year later, the company bought its two main competitors, Ohlsson's and Chandlers Union Breweries, which were struggling with falling beer demand, and the group was renamed South African Breweries. Over time, Southern Sun grew to become South Africa's leading hotel chain, with franchises provided by Holiday Inn and Intercontinental Hotels. The transaction, which had an implicit value of approximately 1.9 billion rands, meant that the empowerment group Tsogo Investments acquired control of Southern Sun Hotels, then the largest hotel group in Southern Africa, as well as Tsogo Sun, a leading casino operator in South Africa. The company that is now South African Breweries was founded in 1895 under the name Castle Brewery to serve a growing market of miners and prospectors in and around Johannesburg.
In 1998, SAB had an approximately 98 percent share of the South African beer market and was considered to be one of the lowest cost beer producers in the world. In 2001, global ABS production reached 77 million hectolitres (65,616,928 US barrels), and 42% of this volume was produced outside South Africa. The demand for beer led the first Dutch governor, Jan van Riebeeck, to establish a brewery in the fort (which was later replaced by the castle in the center of Cape Town) as early as 1658, exceeding the initial production of wine by six months. Peter Mosleiter drinks a Redd's Original from South African Breweries at the viewpoint of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Beer and boerewors (farmer's sausages) are inseparable for South Africans and it's no surprise that beer is considered South Africa's unofficial national drink, especially during sports season. Several international hotel chains decided to enter South Africa after the lifting of economic sanctions.