We talk to Drayman’s Brewery ahead of Capital Craft Beer Festival 2016 and learn about the power of experimentation and why South Africa’s craft beer industry is a time bomb.
We read your story and discovered that you’ve experimented with many different beers, wines and whiskies. Would you ever consider diversifying your product range beyond beer and whisky?
Yes, I’m already doing trials on gin. My first cask matured 3-year old mead is ready for bottling and I have a Belgian Lambic beer in ageing.
You are on a quest to establish a craft beer industry in SA. How do you approach this problem beyond being a craft beer brewery?
I talk to everybody about craft beer and try to spread the gospel – it’s just frightening how much misconception and “pulling the wool over the public’s eyes” there is out there. The very thing that I fought against many years ago (the monopoly of SAB in the trade) is now re-emerging in different clothes. The giant CBC is now “monopolising” the trade and will unscrupulously install a draught tower with all their beers on tap virtually across the road from another real craft brewery thousands of miles from their home base. That said… I suppose if I had hundreds of millions foreign money to back me I might have done the same!
Can you give us your opinion on South Africa’s craft beer industry?
I don’t like the direction the craft industry is taking – the bubble will burst at some point. We only have 5 million people targeted as possible craft beer drinkers and there are already too many craft breweries opening, all wanting a piece of the pie.
What beers can we expect from you at the Capital Craft Beer Festival? And which one would you recommend?
I’ll have top quality tasty craft beers at the Capital Craft Beer Fest 2016 with recognisable names. I might also just go with the flow and also gooi raspberry or watermelon syrup in a keg and sell fruit beers to the young ladies.