FMCG News South Africa

Simondium Brewery scoops Best Beer In Africa Award

The award for Best Beer In Africa was won by the brewery Soul Barrel for their Ale of Origin at the recent African Beer Cup in Cape Town. The competition is the largest on the continent and globally regarded as a mark of quality and excellence in brewing.
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It is reportedly the highest honour for beer on the continent. The combined beer market in Africa contributed an estimated R544bn to the continent’s economy last year.

The beer is described by the brewery as “an oak-aged, spontaneously fermented sour beer - complex, funky, lively and tart”.

Nick Smith, founder and brewmaster at Soul Barrel, based in Simondium in the Western Cape, reacted: “Winning with a beer that features local yeast and grain is a major achievement for South African beer. We believe in South African agriculture and this is just the start of what we can accomplish with local ingredients.”

Lucy Corne, co-founder and competition director of the African Beer Cup, praised the quality of this year’s entries: “The variety and originality of the entries was remarkable and testament to the innovation of African brewers. We had a total of 271 beers in the competition – a new record. While the Cup celebrates the rich African tradition of brewing, it also fosters a spirit of friendly competition and collaboration between brewers. It allows them to learn from each other and elevate the overall quality of African beer. As this is the fifth year of the competition, we can see a true community of African beer forming around it.”

Altogether 16 countries entered the African Beer Cup. The adjudication was a time-intensive and detailed process with all the beers judged by 56 experienced judges from across the globe.

All beers entered in the competition are judged twice – a comprehensive judging style that is unique in the world.

The awards evening, at Jack Black Brewing Company in Cape Town on Saturday the 25th of May, was held to coincide with Africa Day. The winner of the African Celebration Award was Swagga Brewery's Sorghum Ale. Swagga Breweries is based in Meyerton, Gauteng.

The African Celebration Award is sponsored by the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) to highlight beer heritage and the unique tastes of African brewing. It is awarded to the highest scoring beer brewed using African ingredients.

“The African Beer Cup is a celebration of craftsmanship, innovation, and economic potential,” said Charlene Louw, the CEO of BASA. “The African beer industry is immense, in terms of revenue as well as the support of livelihoods, but more difficult to quantify is the support that local, national, and international beer companies give to African farmers, with the increase drive to use locally sourced hops, barley, maize, and other grains.”

BASA also sponsored the non-alcoholic beer medal category, in which Heineken South Africa’s Heineken 0.0 and Darling Brew’s Just Naked were singled out as beers of high quality.

The category of low or no-alcohol beers have been showing considerable growth over the past few years, with technological advances assuring a true beer taste. “We are seeing more and more consumers embracing this form of moderation,” said Louw.

The competition included medal categories such as Dark British Beer, International Lager, Spiced Beer, and African Grain Beer. Medal winners included breweries from Ghana, Namibia, eSwatini, Kenya, Botswana and the Seychelles.

Although breweries from South Africa dominated, Ghanaian brewers can be especially proud of their achievements, taking home a total of six medals.

"The African Beer Cup has become a highlight on the beer calendar, as well as an annual reminder of the huge potential African beer has when it comes to tourism. Our continent’s beers are world-class and offer taste experiences to all types of visitors," said Louw.

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