Microbreweries or craft breweries, as they are also known, appeared on the scene in the 1980s, with Mitchell's Brewery in Knysna being the most successful. Lex Mitchell, the master brewer and founder of Mitchell's Brewery, has become a legend in beer circles. Originally initiated by Beer Route, a collaboration of craft breweries in South Africa, other actors have since joined to help guide tourists to taverns across the country. Beer in South Africa has a long history, with a business history that dates back to the early 20th century.
Even so, craft beer represents just under 1% of the beer market in South Africa, Smith estimates. The brewing and consumption of Bantu beer played an important role in Bantu tribal life in Southern Africa. Beer arrived in South Africa with its first white settlers and has been brewed here for more than 300 years. South Africa represents 34% of Africa's formal beer market and is expected to grow by 8-10% per year over the next five years.
Today, South African Breweries (SAB) controls the vast majority of the South African beer market and, with the notable exception of imported brands such as Heineken, Guinness and others, SAB owns and produces all the country's major brands, in addition to owning Miller's Genuine Draft (American) and a long list of others, making it the second largest brewery in the world. For more than a century, beer production in South Africa has been dominated by South African Breweries (SAB), a subsidiary of the multinational giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD). Other beers that are commonly drunk in South Africa are Windhoek Lager, a Namibian beer brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, as well as Tafel Lager, another beer imported from Namibia.