Breweries in South Africa – Top 10

With so many different breweries in South Africa, it can be hard to pick out the star producers of beer in South Africa from the also-rans. Luckily, we’re here to help you on your way to finding your next favorite South African brewery!

Our celebration of the best and brightest breweries in South Africa will run down all the producers of beer that you need to know about and tell you the craft beer choices to look out for in their selections.

We have taken a look at a wide range of breweries in South Africa ranging from larger concerns to up-and-coming, innovative, and independent breweries that all need enthusiasts should know about. So let’s get started!

Top 10 Best Breweries in South Africa

Darling Brew

This highly acclaimed brewery has been in business for over a decade and has firmly established itself as one of the most innovative breweries in South Africa during this time. Established in 2010 on the West Coast, it has drawn acclaim for being the country’s very first carbon-neutral brewery, leading the way with its innovative and environmentally friendly approach to producing craft beer.

Already a household name, Darling Brew earned the title of “Best Local Craft Beer” at the KFM Best of the Cape Awards in 2021. The brewery is famous for its “Slow Beer” an iconic representation of the company’s commitment to a slow fermentation process and bespoke batching production.

The Cape Brewing Company (CBC)

The Cape Brewing Company is a large South African brewery that benefits from the flavors and character of South African breweries and the expertise and knowledge of expert German brewer Wolfgang Koedel. After years of developing a reputation in his home country for his passion and discipline in c creating tasty beers, Koedel made the move to South Africa to take the helm at CBC as “Brewmaster.”

Under his guidance the South African brewery has gone from strength to strength, producing a wide range of high-quality and tasty beers including their popular Firefighter and FourtyFour Lagers.

Jack Black’s

Jack Black’s is one of the leaders in South African craft beer production and has been leading the way since its foundation in 2007 when the passion for South African craft beer was in its infancy.

Since then, the Brewery has claimed its place as one of the most popular producers of craft beer in South Africa today.

This Cape Town brewery has managed to combine state-of-the-art brewing equipment with a commitment to the hand-crafted and traditional methods of its beginnings to create tasty and refreshing beers which have become a favourite with many in the country.

Smack Republic

An up-and-coming and highly individualist South African Brewery, Smack Republic has developed a strong reputation for its unique approach to brewing craft and artisanal beers. So much so, that only one year after opening in 2012, the brewery was rewarded at the SA Craft Beer Championship, where their “Golden Ale” was named the Best Beer from a Micro Brewery.

With a deep commitment to individualism and exacting standards, Smack Republic is definitely an up-and-coming brewery in South Africa to look out for. Highlights of their current offerings include the Braamfontein Brawler and Bree St Belle. 

South African Breweries (SAB)

On the other end of the South African brewery spectrum is the long-established SAB, which has been a leading light in the beer industry of South Africa since its foundation in 1895. Originally created to whet the tastebuds of the miners and prospectors in Johannesburg, the company is now one of the leading breweries in the world.

There are over 200 brands in the company’s brands lists, some of the most popular being Carling Black, Castle Lager, and Hansa Pilsener.

Clarens Brewery

For crafted ales, specialty beers, and ciders, Larens Brewery has become a favourite amongst those in the know. The brewery is located at the foot of the Maluti Mountains where they have become famous for its high-quality beers and ciders produced using only the best in local and international hops and malts.

Currently producing 8000 liters per month, this brewery has committed itself to sway those used to commercial beer offerings over to the artisan and craft beer side of the spectrum!

Drayman’s Brewery

One of the leaders in the development of craft beers in South Africa, Drayman’s Brewery began life as a small concern run out of a garage in Pretoria. From these humble beginnings in 1997, the brewery had grown into a very popular choice in the Gauteng province.

The brewery is committed to a hand-crafted approach to its production of beer and uses the best old-world micro brewery traditions to produce beers that are all-natural and precisely and delicately flavoured. Popular choices of beer from the company include the “Jolly Monk”, “Merlins Mild” and “Altstadt Weissbier.”

Black Horse Beer

This brewery produce craft beers and larger from a picturesque estate overlooking the magnificent Zeekoeihoek Valley. With a commitment to producing tasty and easy-drinking beers, head brewer Nuschka Scheepers holds the distinction of being one of the youngest female brewers in South Africa.

If you are looking for some smooth and tasty beers to discover, then heading down to the beautiful Black Horse estate for a distillery tour is a must! Beers to sample from the brand include

Triggerfish Brewery

One of the most exciting up-and-coming breweries in South Africa, Triggerfish Brewery is a growing company that is deeply invested in the craft of creating high-quality beers. Each of the individual beers the brewery produces have their own individual taste and the brewers are open and experimental in their approach.

You can expect to experience unique and individual beers from this young company such as the Pucker Puffer Sour Ale (which takes a year of brewing) and Stonefish 12-12-12. This is a brewery that is committed to experimentation and innovation and we look forward to seeing more interesting specialty beers coming from this company in the years to come!

Frontier Beer Co.

Rounding out our list of the best breweries in South Africa is Frontier Beer Co. The mission statement for this growing brewery is”the relentless pursuit of world class beer”, and it definitely shows in their offerings!

This is a forward-looking company that is leading the way in a new batch of socially conscious and positive breweries inspired by positivity and innovation in the world of brewing individualist and specialist beers.

Popular beers from the company include “Rye the Beloved Country”, “Like a Boss” and “Sophia Town”, fresh and tasty craft beers which encompass the company’s commitment to the art of brewing and its uniquely South African approach to beer.

Summary: Top 10 Best Breweries in South Africa

From Cape Town and Gauteng to the Zeekoeihoek Valley, South African craft beer culture has never been stronger! And to meet the developing popularity of craft beers among South African drinkers, breweries in the country are coming up with a widening range of new and innovative drinks to enjoy.

Get started with our list of the top 10 breweries and you just might find your new favourite beer to enjoy from a local South African company.

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