One thing is certain: South Africans love beer! SABMiller produces more than 3.1 billion litres of beer, and beer makes up for more than 56% of all alcohol consumed. Our streets are lined with pubs featuring a variety of beer on tap. At a weekend braai (barbeque) beer takes centre stage. When vuvuzelas cheer at a soccer game, or when rugby and cricket are on, beer is the beverage of choice.
South Africa’s beer culture is rooted in tradition, rituals, and cultural diversity. And besides our love for beer, we obviously know a thing or two about making it too. In the past the Khoi made beer from honey and water. The Xhosa and Zulu home-brewed umqombothi, a maize-sorghum brew. And today the craft beer industry is bigger than ever; with Darling Brewery, Cape Brewing Company (CBC), Woodstock Brewery, Tuk Tuk brewery and many more serving a niche cluster of customers.
SABMiller is part of the AB-inBev family and it is the country’s top brewer and the leading distributor of beer. SABMiller was founded in 1895 as South African Breweries to serve the growing market of miners and prospectors. Over the years South African Breweries grew exponentially. In 2002 South African Breweries acquired Miller. And consequently, the name SABMiller reached recognition globally in the brewing industry.
Socially, and economically, beer plays an integral role. The industry giant has more than 70 000 employees in over 80 countries on 6 continents. It even got a decent market share in China. It is believed that more than 140 000 bottles of SABMiller beer are sold each minute. Furthermore, the company created a soft drink business through its brands. It is now one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola drinks as well. And not long ago, in 2016, they were acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewery.
SABMiller is proud of its origin, and altogether it is a South African success story. In 1971 South African Breweries already adopted its first employment equity policy. At the core of it lies investments in community partnerships, socio-economic and enterprise development, and change.
South Africa’s thirst for the liquid gold is South African Breweries’ most established market. Based on production, it is believed that South Africans consume 58 litres of beer per person per year. While the flagship brand is Castle Lager, launched in 1898, the rest of the beer portfolio meets a wide range of consumers. Some of the most popular beer brands include Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsner, Brutal Fruit, Flying Fish, Corona and Stella Artois.
A visit to South Africa goes hand in hand with tasting the national beer. Say cheers around the fire with a Black Label in hand. Enjoy a cold Castle Lager when you watch a game of rugby or soccer. And taste the result of art and science coming together in South Africa’s craft beers.