Even so, craft beer represents just under 1% of the beer market in the south. Even so, craft beer represents just under 1% of the beer market in South Africa, Smith estimates. By providing a past, it created reliability, something to hold on to in a rapidly changing consumer world. A thriving illicit trade in alcoholic beverages sprang up in the shebeens (places to drink) in backyards across the country and continued long after anti-apartheid activists razed breweries to the ground in the mid-1980s.
The Castle Lager Key Game, a live contest led by presenters Adrian Steed and Beatrice Reed on Springbok radio, took hold of the imagination of suburban South Africa on Wednesday nights, at the height of apartheid. Urban black communities in South Africa were distinguished by many different styles of self-imagination and consumer practices. The beer giant also invests in recycling initiatives and carries out campaigns to eliminate garbage that degrades the South African landscape. The success of these multiracial imaginations in beer advertisements did not put an end to the idea of a “dual market” in South Africa.
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). In the late 1980s, SAB advertising responded to the increasing social stratification in African society and to concomitant changes in purchasing power. The myth of Charles Glass, the master brewer and businessman who founded Castle Brewery on the Rand in the 1880s, describes Glass as an adorable beer baron, a pioneer of brewing and sociability. In short, only when South Africa entered a period of “transitional nationalism” in the mid-1990s did beer brands begin to directly promote multiracial nationalism.
In the 1960s, SAB vendors expressed no uncertainty in their interpretation of the meaning of commercial beer for Africans. Local advertising purists deplored the lack of authenticity “you can't drink like that in South Africa,” they said. The ways in which the beer division of the SAB thought and talked about consumer identities and markets were, starting in the 1960s, significantly superior to the dominant discourses of Afrikaners on nationalism. By controlling the spatiality of the advertising imagination, a dominant apartheid mentality shaped possible configurations of masculinities in beer commercials.