JOHANNESBURG - It all started during a trip to Germany. On April 2nd, 2012, Randolf Jorberg, Beerhouse Founder and Head Dreamer, was sitting with his then girlfriend in a bar in Heidelberg, Germany, discussing the various available beers and their stories and wondering why no similar places existed in Cape Town.
They realised that there might indeed be a gap in the South African market. That is when the idea of Beerhouse was conceived.
That night, upon returning to their hotel, Randolf reserved the domain name beerhouse.co.za, redirected it to a new Facebook page, invited his Capetonian friends and posted some beer related content.
Even with no industry experience, Randolf knew that a successful bar business starts with a good location and Long Street was the answer. A few days after signing the lease for 223 Long Street they still had no real plan on how to open a bar, but were ready (and very passionate) to spread the word.
They printed blue Beerbar T-Shirts and visited the Cape Town Festival of Beer, where they met all the brewers, who subsequently became Beerhouse partners for the first time, sharing in the Beerhouse vision: “Give our guests at Beerhouse a 365 day a year beer festival experience and be the number one tasting room destination for the South African craft beer industry.” “The rest, as they say, is history,” says Jorberg.
He explains that Beerhouse is built on the philosophy of lean management. Lean management is “an approach to running an organisation that supports the concept of continuous improvement. It is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes, which require ‘incremental’ improvement over time in order to increase efficiency and quality.”
“We envision a lean Beerhouse. We understand the importance of customer value. As such we have implemented processes that allow us to continuously increase customer value. Our 'house' is built on the pillars of; Continuous Improvement, Communication, Work Organisation, Strategic Objectives and Respect for People,” says the Head Dreamer.
“We use beer to connect people! We give Beer enthusiasts an all year round beer festival by providing a large and inclusive variety of beer and brew food, events, social activities in an atmosphere that simply cannot be duplicated anywhere else, high standard of service, beer culture and education.”
Jorberg says they plan to be South Africa’s go-to venue for beer choice – “which we believe we have already accomplished” – for knowledge and experiences with more than 20 Beerhouse outlets nationwide by 2020. “Beyond that we hope to grow into the Hard Rock Cafe of craft beer.”
In August 2017 Beerhouse pioneered the #BrewFood Revolution, launching its Brew Food menu nationwide.
“The #BrewFood Revolution is a new era of exploration that brings in a fusion of food and beer. We teamed up with Ultimate Braai Master Winner Piet Marais and his team to create a food menu that combines the best of both worlds.
“The #BrewFood menu integrates smoking techniques from in-house custom made natural hard wood smokers.The awesome flavours of smoked meat are punctuated by #BrewFood elements, including beer fermented sriracha, beer cheese emulsions, brew pickles, beer fermented batter, fermented cabbage slaw, beer brine and amasi ranch sauce. All these elements either use beer in the ingredients or use fermentation and pickling to create flavours that compliment smoked meats,” Jorberg explains.
He says the reason behind this is to get the best of both worlds of beer and food!
“Since day one we have been a 365 days a year beer festival for our Beer Lovers, but our food had no identity. Brew Food was the result of our desire to create a unique food identity for Beerhouse which would combine beer and food in away never done before while at the same time celebrating our shared South African heritage.
“Piet shared our vision and brought in his unique outdoor fire cooking and smoking techniques. The creative juices flowed between Piet, Murray Slater (Beerhouse co-owner and Operations Manager) and our head chefs and the Brew Food concept was born,” he says.
Jorberg says South Africa is a beer and meat loving nation, they are delighted that the #BrewFood concept was received very well. He says they had a number of beer lovers that initially did not comprehend the #BrewFood initiative. “We were very well prepared for this! We invested some time and resources in ensuring that our Navigators (waiters and bartenders) were trained to explain and handle all queries that our Beerhouse fans had.”
Upon founding Jorberg said he was looking at a crowdfunding solution to expand his operation. He says he is drawn to this model because he wants investors who understand that there will be times when he will choose to do something that might not be in the immediate financial interest of the business but will benefit it eventually.
“On opening night of our first Beerhouse on Long Street in Cape Town I was approached by guys from Joburg, who asked us to open up north and were willing to invest. As Beerhouse was started to realise my childhood dream of owning my own bar I see many other boys, that also share that dream and want to be part-owner of a Beerhouse.
“I realised, that equity crowdfunding is the ideal way to make this dream come true. We aim to make this the only source of funding for our goal to grow to open 20 Beerhouses by 2020,” he says.
ALSO READ: Apple invests R30 000 in employees bonuses
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE