So, you’ve brewed an awesome beer and, in a haze of euphoria, imagine doing it for a living. The question arises, should I start a craft brewery in South Africa? You start looking for information…
Start a Craft Brewery in South Africa in 984 Easy Steps
In the Western Cape alone there were, as of the date of this article, over 8,259 liquor licenses, of which Micro Manufacture numbered 483. A brief summary of info about the liquor licensing process, in the Western Cape at least, goes something like this:
- A Micro Manufacture On & Off license allows you to brew, and for your customer to drink on your premises or take it elsewhere;
- Applicant(s) must be over 18, not been in jail in the last 5 years, solvent and mentally sound (really, license requirements);
- Be resident in South Africa;
- Have a complete description, colour photos, floor & site plans of the premises;
- Written motivation for the liquor license application;
- Zoning cert from the respective municipality;
- Proof of payment of the application fees;
The exact details of how to start a craft brewery in South Africa, or even where to start, seems to be as difficult to find as starting one appears to be.
Yes, there are now over 200 craft breweries / brands trading in South Africa, but nobody is blogging about how to get a brewery license. Perhaps it’s a guarded secret exactly because it’s so difficult. Or perhaps everyone is just too busy brewing.
For information on how to get a license to start a craft brewery in South Africa, you can trawl through the official labyrinth that is government regulations, and puzzle it together yourself, or you could engage an expert, a list of which is just a quick google away.
Bring it on?
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) National Liquor Authority FAQ is a good warm-up, to figure out what your brewery is, and where in the micro brewery-sphere you fit in.
There you learn about the National Liquor Authority, a regulatory body within the DTI that administers The National Liquor Act 2003 – the very laws within which you, potential licensed brewer, would have to operate. You’ll have to get acquainted with it at some point.
Next comes the fun part, and the reason why it’s difficult to write just one “how to set up a craft beer business” that applies to all of South Africa: each of our 9 provinces have their own Liquor Regulatory Authorities (LRA).
South African Liquor Regulatory Authorities
Different LRAs offer information in their own formats and to varying degrees of clarity. You’ll quickly get an idea of why the Western Cape has more breweries than any other province…
See the DTI’s list of LRAs for postal addresses and phone numbers, or follow the links below to the respective websites. I haven’t been able to find official LRA pages for the bottom 3 provinces, which happens to be the provinces with the fewest breweries. Coincidence?
These are links to the respective government web sites, for your research pleasure:
- Western Cape
- Eastern Cape Liquor Board
- Gauteng Liquor License (or download the brochure 18 pages, pdf, 749kb, hosted on gpg.gov.za)
- KwaZulu-Natal Liquor Board
- Mpumalanga Liquor Authority
- Free State Liquor Authority
- Limpopo (a bit on LEDET)
- North West
- Northern Cape
If you have any hints, advice, corrections or arguments, then do leave them in the comments below.