Craft Champs

The third annual National Craft Brewers Championships is searching for South Africa’s best brews once again.

The competition, hosted by The South African Breweries (SAB) and Craft Beer South Africa (CBSA) invites professional craft brewers to enter their finest products for the recognition and reward they deserve. 

“Craft brewing is about exploring less conventional beer recipes, a creative expression, a sense of place and a story and we at SAB are excited to be co-hosting the country’s premier craft competition,” said Petr Vesely, SAB Chief Brewer.

The competition aims to reward the craft beer movement for their contribution to growing the culture of beer in South Africa.

“Craft beers, once only available in the bigger cities, are now spreading to smaller towns with more and more craft brewers setting up shop. All this means greater competition and can only lead to better brews for the public,” said Brian Stewart, CBSA Chairman.  “However, so much choice can often be confusing and we hope the SAB / CBSA National Craft Brewers Championships will assist beer lovers in identifying the finest products.”

“We want people to be curious about what is in their glass, to be interested and to ask questions. So whether it is a lager, pilsener or an India Pale Ale they are drinking, we want consumers to be engaged and the craft beer movement has certainly helped to create that engagement,” said Vesely.  

SAB has supported the craft industry over the years by sponsoring festivals, assisting brewers with information and access to raw materials such as malt and hops.

The Championship continues to evolve each year. “The 2014 edition added a Cider category and the 2015 edition boasts a Journalist’s Choice Award in both the Beer and Cider categories. The winners of these will be decided upon by our panel of beer-loving journalists,” said Stewart.

The rules state that a brewer can enter any beer they regularly brew and is commercially available, as long as it fits in the categories as laid out in the Beer Judge Certification Programme style 2015 guidelines. Adding to the competition’s credibility, it will once again be audited by Grant Thornton and judging will be overseen by Sean Watts, a well-known BJCP judge and three times convenor of the National Craft Brewer Championships.

The judging panel consists of some of the country’s finest beer palates who are all BJCP accredited, including beer writer, judge and MC Lucy Corne, aka The Brew Mistress.

Beer prizes

First prize:      
R50 000 from SAB
150kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
150kg dark malt from SAB Maltings (Alrode)
2kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms

Second prize:
R30 000 from SAB
100kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
100kg dark malt from SAB Maltings Alrode
1,5kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms

Third prize:
R10 000 from SAB
50kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
50g dark malt from SAB Maltings Alrode
1kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms
R12 000 worth of consultancy or training from Global Beverage Solutions

Cider prizes

First prize:
R50 000 from SAB

Second Prize
R30 000 from SAB

Third Prize:
R10 000 from SAB

Journalist’s Choice Award: (new award category)
Best Beer
All-inclusive participation in SAB’s annual Heritage Tour to George, Caledon and Cape Town for 2 people sponsored by SAB

Best Cider
All-inclusive participation in SAB’s annual Heritage Tour to George, Caledon and Cape Town for 2 people sponsored by SAB

How to Enter
To enter go to and complete the entry form. 

The competition closes Friday, 23 October 2015 at 17h00.  Beer samples must be delivered to the SAB Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning in Kyalami, Johannesburg. Judging will take place on Saturday, 24 October 2015.

Winners will be announced at an event at SAB’s central office in Johannesburg on Thursday, 03 December 2015.