Is Beer Popular in South Africa?

South Africa is the largest producer and consumer of beer on the African continent, accounting for 34% of the continent's formal beer market. Beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in the country, with 56% of alcohol consumed being beer. Castle Lite has become the most popular South African beer among the younger generation, with its low-kilojoule, low-carb and crunchy taste with a slight bitterness and mild hop aroma. There are now about 215 craft breweries in South Africa, but craft beer only accounts for just under 1% of the beer market.

The list of best known, most produced and popular beers in South Africa includes several bits of information such as which brewery brews them and what percentage of alcohol the beers contain. Black Label is very popular among the black population and is often referred to as Zamalek, because it is considered a strong beer. Ladak brews European and American beers, but makes a nod to the local culture by associating each beer with the spirit of an animal. Draymans (South Africa) Altstadt Weissbier is a Bavarian-style wheat beer that has the high carbonation, crisp acidity and banana notes of a traditional weissbier.

The main companies involved in territorial wars are SABMiller (which owns 34 percent of the continental market by volume, 24 percent of which is in South Africa), Castel (with 20 percent), Heineken (16 percent) and Diageo (7 percent). In 2004, a new company was established in South Africa known as Brandhouse through a joint venture of Diageo, Heineken and Namibian Breweries. This beer comes packaged in a traditional cardboard box and has a cloudy brown color with a sour fruity flavor. South African Breweries is the largest brewery in South Africa and one of the most admired companies in the nation.

At the moment, Heineken has expanded its portfolio of South African beers with the addition of low and non-alcoholic brands, including Heineken 0.0, Windhoek Lite, Amstel Radler. This led to the proliferation of illegal breweries called shebeens, where locals brewed and served traditional African beer made from malted sorghum or cassava, although corn (corn) and millet flour are also used in some regions. The slightly bitter taste of barley-free beer is one that most foreigners are not used to, although producing tasty gluten-free beer is something American brewers are experimenting with. Earlier this month, the best beer in Africa was crowned in the African Beer Cup.

Even though SABMiller dominates in South Africa, it faces some competition in East Africa from Kenya-based East African Breweries, a subsidiary of Diageo. With its growing popularity among locals and foreigners alike, it's no wonder why South African beer is becoming increasingly popular.