We have had a colourful journey so far. We've had so much fun and met so many awesome people.
Beer has changed our lives for the better. It's allowed us to be creative and express our otherwise mostly misunderstood personality.
Greg who is an award winning brewer and renowned BJCP beer judge in the USA (That's Greg on the left) who also happens to be a good friend since childhood of Karl, our brewer, introduced Karl to craft beer and home brewing. "The very first time I tasted an IPA, I fell in love, I didn't even know what it was, but it was delicious." In those days craft beer didn't exist in SA and the only way he could get his fix was to brew his own.
Karl, our brewer, spent years learning all there is to know about beer (so he thought) he brewed as much as he could trying to ensure he never ran out of beer at home. He brewed and studied every style of beer from lagers to Belgians to Lambics to IPA's and everything in between. "I thought I was rather clever and knew it all when it came to beer and brewing beer. Years later I would realise that I had only learned a fraction of what I needed to know in order to brew commercially. After my baptism of fire I have made a point of learning something new every day.".
Overall, 2012 had been a terrible year. The company Karl worked for 'closed' the branch that he worked in. he was left without an income and on top of that he couldn't find employment. He tried to start his own business but was blocked by his previous employer. This effectively put an end to those aspirations. What to do... Anyone who has ever brewed beer has dreams and aspirations of starting a brewery. Karl read an article about craft beer and it got him thinking.
After he read the article about craft beer and how popular it was becoming he had the opportunity to have some craft beer at a birthday party he attended. It was strangely familiar he thought if others are making a living then he could do the same, after all it was something he knew a lot about and loved it. Furthermore, if the article was correct, people just couldn't seem to get enough of the stuff. A brewery was born.
It took pretty much the entire year (2014) to fabricate the brewery and get all our licencing in place. We started to brew at the end of 2014. It was all new and there was lots to figure out and learn. While much of the learning was about beer, most of the learning and hard knocks were on the business side. Beer is a tough business.
We quickly outgrew our 25 square meter brewery and we realised that we needed our own retail outlet. We found a nice spot under an old hotel. We had hoped for a synergy with the hotel which didn't happen. We weren't there very long as logistically it just didn't work out for us, we couldn't get the raw materials and ingredients into the premises easily. The road outside was a steep hill, it made loading and unloading extremely difficult. The entrance to the premises was 3 stairs, no trolley could work there. We did however have tons of fun there. We had parties every Friday night and we met so many amazing people from all over the world.
We packed up and moved the brewery again. This time to the industrial area, it's a great space. What we learned from this move is that for some reason, local people are reluctant to come down the industrial area to visit the brewery. The brewery is still very much the domain of overseas visitors, some of which book to come there months in advance. We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to open a tap room in the Boardwalk for the festive season. We learned so much from being there and we are grateful for all the wonderful people we got to meet and know, we have even gained some regulars from being there.
We have learned so much over the past 5 years and we have continued to improve the brewery and the beer. We expanded our range of beers tremendously, to date we have brewed and sold 52 different beers, we are finding new inspiration all the time, the more we learn and the places we visit and the more people we meet the more ideas we get, the more beers we will produce. We were the first brewery in South Africa to do a sour beer in 2015. We have since started a barrel project with Cabernet Savaugnon red wine barrels. We currently have a barrel aged pale/amber blend and a barrel aged sour.
With everything we've learned so far, we are incredibly excited about 2019. We've done so many exciting things up until now in terms of beer and beer-centric products. We are the only brewery in the world to put beetroot in beer, we are the only brewery in the world to use spekboom in beer as well. There are so many exciting projects that we have lined up for next year, our industry is becoming very competitive, this is also exciting for us and the consumer.
2019 brings big changes, new priorities, a new look and direction. We took some time to slow down, take stock and regroup. We decided to go back to basics and stay true to our original vision by focussing on having fun and brewing the type of beer we want to brew that caters to the more sophisticated, knowledgable beer lover. Our new look accurately reflects our attitude and personality.