Beer in South Africa

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Castle Lager is one of South Africa's most popular beers made by South African Breweries

Beer in South Africa has a long history, with a corporate history dating back to the early 20th century.


South African beer has had two main influences on its development. Firstly, European settlers who colonised the country brought expertise and know-how as the country was populated. Dutch immigrants from the 1650s onwards, and British, immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries both contributed in different ways to the knowledge of alcohol production.

Another important but often overlooked influence has been indigenous knowledge. Local breweries, operated by the black population, especially groups such as the Sotho, Zulu and Xhosa, have been brewing forms of sorghum beers long before any Europeans arrived.

Umqombothi, from the Nguni languages (Xhosa and Zulu), is a traditional beer made in the Transkei, from maize (corn), maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water.

Modern day[edit]

South Africa accounts for 34% of Africa's formal beer market and is expected to grow by 8–10% annually over the next five years. Beer consumption in the country was pegged at 60 litres per capita in 2012 which is greater than the 14.6-litre African average as well as the global average of 22 litres.

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 major brands in the country, as well as owning Miller's Genuine Draft (American) and long list of others which makes it the world's second largest brewery. Their most popular and valuable brand is Carling Black Label, which is the most awarded beer in the country with 20 prestigious international beer awards to its name. They also produce Castle milk stout, Hansa Pilsner, Castle Lager and Castle Lite.

Jo'burg beer, an independent business and low-priced beverage, is dominant among lower-income groups, and incorporates the tastes of traditional brewing.

Other commonly drunk beers in South Africa is Windhoek Lager, a beer from Namibia made according to the Reinheitsgebot, as well as Tafel Lager, another Namibian import.


A number of smaller microbreweries have sprung up in the past decades, and these tend to compete regionally. The largest of these are Mitchell's Brewery in Knysna;[1] another is Shongweni Brewery near Durban producing Robsons bottle conditioned beers unique to South Africa. Another unique brewery is Mogallywood Brewery close to Magaliesburg that brews cask-conditioned real ale served from a cask without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure.

Other microbreweries in South Africa include:[2]


  • Drifter Brewing Co.
  • Boston Breweries
  • Dieu Donne
  • Jack Black
  • Mitchells Brewery
  • Devils Peak Brewing Company
  • Darling Brew
  • Mitchell's Brewery
  • Napier Brewery
  • Birkenhead Brewery
  • Stellenbrau Brewery
  • The Brewery (Nieu Bethesda)
  • Triggerfish Brewing
  • Sneeuberg Brewery
  • Gallows Hill Brewing Company
  • Royal Mzansi
  • Bierwerk (Afrikan Ales)
  • Saggy Stone Brewing Company
  • Valley Brewery
  • Honingklip
  • Barrique Brewery / The Village Brewery
  • South Cape Breweries Mossel Bay – the home of Glenhoff Draught
  • Frasers Folly; Western Cape, Struisbaai, The Most Southern Brewery in South Africa
  • Cape Brewing Company
  • Stellenbosch Brewing Company
  • Sir Thomas Brewing Company
  • Hopman Brewery


  • The Nottingham Rd Brewing Company
  • That Brewing Co
  • Shongweni Brewery
  • Zululand Brewing Company
  • Mullerbrau
  • Ivan's Brewing
  • Porcupine Quill Brewery
  • Muntinzini Brewery
  • Three Skulls Brewery


  • The Ale House
  • Aces Brew Worx
  • SMACK! Republic Brewing Co.
  • Drayman's Brewery
  • Gilroy’s Brewery
  • De Garve Brewery
  • Copperlake Breweries
  • Black Horse Brewery
  • Mogallywood
  • The Cockpit Brewhouse
  • Mitchell's Brewery
  • Backwards Bean Brewery
  • Humanbrew (Loxton Lager)
  • Leaky Tap Brewery
  • The RedRock Brewing Company
  • Legends Brewery
  • Hazeldean Brewing Co
  • Mad Giant
  • Frontier Beer Co


  • Agars Brewery
  • Anvil Ale
  • Brewhogs Microbrewery
  • Chameleon Brewery
  • Clarens Brewery
  • Dog and Fig Brewery
  • Flat Dog Shed
  • Hops Hollow
  • Irish Ale House
  • Madship Brewing
  • Pilansberg Craft Brewery
  • Two Okes Brewery
  • Bavaria Brouery (Orania)
  • Grootrivier Brouery (Orania)


Homebrewing Culture[edit]

There is a fairly large homebrewing community in the major metropolitan cities throughout the country. Homebrewers meet on a monthly basis in some areas under the Worthog Brewers moniker and discuss brewing techniques and the like.

The homebrewing community have strong support from South African Breweries, who frequently sponsor both large and small craft beer festivals around the country.

Examples of these include the Clarens Beer Festival in Clarens, Freestate and Solstice Festival & Northwest Province

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Popularity of microbreweries set to increase". Creamer Media's Engineering News. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  2. ^ "List of Breweries". Beer Mag. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Zwakala Brewery". Zwakala Brewery. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Our Beers - Brauhaus am Damm". 19 October 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Origin Digital. "Bridge Street Brewery". Retrieved 21 March 2018.

External links[edit]