The craft beer journey in South Africa. Picture: Supplied
The craft beer journey in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Has the craft beer bubble burst?

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Aug 23, 2019

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The craft beer lifestyle in South Africa has seen significant growth and popularity in recent years. 

The industry has made it possible for even non-beer drinkers to enjoy a more flavourful drink, with little or none of the bitterness we have become accustomed to with the usual beer, and more fruity notes. 

The lower alcohol volume in some craft beers also means you can enjoy more beer, especially as the holidays draw near. Who would have thought that a pumpkin flavoured beer would work? 

For a more crisp and refreshing taste – apple, citrus and cherry beers are always a good option and they are perfect for those long, hot days. 

While many first dismissed craft beer as a hipster fascination, it has steadily become the beer of choice for many. 

Brewers like Shaun Standeaven of the Alverstone, KwaZulu-Natal-based The Standeaven Brewery, have seen more people become fans of craft beer in recent years.

Standeaven started brewing beer eight years ago after returning from abroad. “After working abroad as a chef, I saw how there were so many options for people to drink, including a number of craft beers.”

That was then. More than eight years later there are a number of brewers across the province and there is also a brew route in KwaZulu-Natal, which is expected to become another tourism node for the province.

However, even with the boom and popularity of craft beer, the economy is hitting the industry hard. Speaking to brewmaster, Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, she said the craft beer industry is going through some tough times with a few breweries closing down, being sold or merging. 

“Some may say the ‘craft bubble’ has burst making it quite difficult for not so well-established brands to survive. I believe it is a self correction stage and those who survive this year or next year will come out stronger and with much better quality beers,” she said.

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