Even so, craft beer represents just under 1% of the beer market in the south. There are currently around 215 craft breweries, according to the CBASA. Even so, craft beer represents just under 1% of the beer market in South Africa, Smith estimates. Unlike 1997, there are currently more than 150 craft breweries in South Africa, many of which ship their products across the country.
There are even online services where you can order craft beer at home and it's increasingly common to expect one or two craft beers on tap at your local restaurant. Why has this happened, and why now, given the long history of beer? One of the advantages of being located in South Africa is the abundant supply of used wine barrels due to the proximity of the wine region. 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). When the Wort Hog Brewers home brewing club was officially founded in 1997 (after having been a smaller company since 1999), there were two small-scale breweries, (Mitchell's and Drayman's), in South Africa, with limited distribution.
Major breweries continue to record growth in consumption along with the craft beer revolution, which means that, at least in South Africa, the two industries coexist rather than replace each other. Interestingly, Jannie began his career at the Simonsvlei winery (we are currently based at Karoo Craft Breweries) as a winemaker in late 2002 and, in 2004, he began playing the role of winegrower at the Simonsvlei winery. I wanted to opt for a beer style that hardly exists in South Africa and, at the same time, try to change people's perspective on what beer could be. Located outdoors on Broadway, they organize one of the best bottle sets in the city, with 10 great refrigerators to choose from (they are especially difficult for IPAs) and a wide variety of sour and spicy options, in addition to having a small bar and patio in the back to enjoy their 15 faucet options.
I met with the owner of Banana Jam, Greg Casey, and it was interesting to hear about the achievements and problems they face in South Africa in relation to craft beer. Perhaps this demand in South Africa is driven by a return to authenticity and a sense of connection with a brewer or brand, unlike the anonymous multinationals that make lager sodas, which have been the basis of beer in the past. These breweries differed from large multinational beer companies in terms of the volumes they produced, the scale of their operations and the variety of flavors of their beers. In a more local tone, Mitch Lockhart, a UT graduate and native of Houston, moved to South Africa several years ago.
The South African rock band Fokofpolisiekar (just writing their name is an act of rebellion) has created their own line of beers, brewed by the Sir Thomas brewery in Stellenbosch. Craft beer festivals have been financially supported by major companies, and the development of future breweries has been supported by events such as Brewing Intervarsity, sponsored by South African breweries. The smaller scale of the processes in these small breweries also allowed us to think that we could know the person who formulated the recipe and made the beer. In fact, for all of the breweries currently in South Africa, it wasn't the easiest place to find so much detail.
With more than 9,000 breweries in operation, taverns offer an unparalleled place for customers to drink pints just a few meters from where the beer was made.