The discovery of the wealth of the Witwatersrand gold
fields brought the world two great things. The city of Johannesburg
and South African Breweries
. The breweries were founded in 1895
to bring the miners an alternative to the ever popular mixture of potato
juice and pepper
. In 1898
, SAB launched what remains today a phenomenon of South African
culture, Castle Lager
. Originally retailing at sixpence per glass (I wish it still did), Castle proved to be immensely popular with the South African beer
SAB grew from strength to strength. In 1935 they stopped importing the majority of their hops and started a major farming operation outside George in the Eastern Cape and in 1945 they started growing their own barley. Their position as the largest brewer in South Africa was cemented in 1956 with the acquisition of Ohlssons and Chandler Union breweries. Guinness licensed SAB in 1964 to brew the wonderful dark nectar on South African soil. Sab continued to buy breweries both in Southern Africa and around the world in a quest to become the world's largest brewer. This campaign climaxed with the acquisition of Miller Brewing Company and the formation of SABMiller.
Some of South African Breweries brands include:
They also brew Amstel Lager
under licence from Heineken
Many people like to make derogatory comments about SAB beer. Most of it is typical mass produced lager made to be affordable and approachable by everybody. It does it's job very well.