We caught up with Darling Brew ahead of Capital Craft Beer Festival 2016.
How does it feel to be one of South Africa’s most loved craft breweries? How did you develop this brand around yourself?
We are incredibility proud of Darling Brew and all we have achieved. Some people arrive at the brewery today and just see the beautiful beast that she is at it all looks like a fairy tale, however, reality is that we have been working on building Darling Brew since 2008. Sold our first beer in 2010, built our own brewery in 2015 and in between those dates there was pure blood, seat and some days tears to make it all happen. Today we have 50 employees but getting to this point has been a very gradual climb, and Kevin and Philippa, the founders of DB, were an integral part of the business from day dot. Our first employee was employed only in 2011 so it was ‘easy’ to build the brand around us because we were the brand!
You were close to throwing in the towel when you started Darling Brew. What advice would you give to young people that are struggling to get their projects or businesses up and running?
Initially try and stay as financially independent from your business as you can. Kevin and I both had jobs doing consulting work until 2012. Every cent that the business earned was reinvested. Don’t be afraid to use the contacts that you have and believe in yourself and your project. If you don’t believe in it, you can’t expect others to.
Can you give us your opinions on South Africa’s craft beer industry?
SA Craft industry is growing from strength to strength. It is following the trend that was seen in the industry in other countries like New Zealand, Australia and America. Consumers are loving the diversity, quality and interest that craft beer has brought back to the beer industry. Consumers are loving us and we are loving them right back! We believe the growth will continue for many years and then we may see a plateau in the industry but craft is here to stay for sure. South Africans’ taste buds have changed and there is no going back!
What beers can we expect from you at the Capital Craft Beer Festival? And which one would you recommend?
We will have the usual suspects of slow beer and bone crusher. Our two best sellers at DB so we can’t do an event without them. 4 taps being reserved for our newer lines. Look out for Blood Serpent our unfiltered export lager, the first carbon neutral beer in Africa, Warlord our 9% Imperial IPA with limited availability so hopefully this one gets the folks queuing.