Western Cape based craft brewers took top honours at the second Annual South African Craft Brewers Competition, held over the weekend at SAB’s historical World of Beer in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Cape Town’s Devil’s Peak Brewing Company claimed the leading position in the beer category for its King’s Blockhouse, while Elgin-based Everson’s Cider won in the newly introduced cider category for its Pear Cider.
The South African Craft Brewer Championship, which acknowledges the skill and craftsmanship of the country’s craft beer industry, has grown in popularity since the inaugural event in 2013, with a marked increase in entries.
“There has been a dramatic rise in the number of quality craft brewers in South Africa owing to the market demand for variations in beer experiences and a new appreciation for beer. We are also seeing signs of a maturing craft industry as brewers recognise the need to create a first class product and witness other brewers’ prowess. The cider segment in particular is growing which saw fit for us to include this as a new category in this year’s competition,” said Sean Watts, Convenor of Judges.
According to judging panel member and MC, Lucy Corne, gone are the days when craft breweries stuck to lagers and blonde ales.
“As the craft brewing industry explodes in South Africa, drinkers are becoming more adventurous and the brewers are coming up with bigger and bolder beers alongside the classic styles. I was pleased to see the sheer variation among the beer styles entered into this year’s competition,” says Corne.
The top awards, out of 18 finalists, went to:
1. Devil’s Peak Brewing Company for its King’s Blockhouse IPA
2. Bridge Street Brewery (Port Elizabeth) for its Celtic Cross Premium Pilsner
3. Mad Giant (Secunda) for Punk Hop
1. Everson’s Cider for its Everson’s Pear Cider
2. Garagista Beer Co. (Cape Town) for Double Barrel
3. Windermere Cider (Cape Town) for Windermere Apple Cider
“SAB has supported the craft industry by sponsoring festivals, assisting brewers with information and access to raw materials such as malt and hops. By extension, the World of Beer is a natural fit as main prize sponsor and awards host,” said Paul Verdu, SAB’s General Manager: Global & Speciality Brands.
“We realised early on the role we, as a market leader, could play and that promoting the culture of beer and growing affinity for beer could only be good for the beer industry as a whole.”
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