It is with a heavy heart, that we need to announce the sudden closure of Beerhouse Fourways at our current location in Pineslopes. After 5 years and building a loyal following we are urgently searching for better premises to be able to continue serving the beer-loving community in Johannesburg. We invite everyone to join us for one last drink before we close the doors at our old Pineslopes home on the night of Saturday, August 31st to move to a new location.
THIS PARAGRAPH IS REMOVED FOR NOW AS THE LANDLORD’s LAWYER IS THREATENING AN URGENT COURT INTERDICT. Will return after legal review.
We had to give up our hopes of staying at Pineslopes and are now focused on finding a new location for Beerhouse. What is most heartbreaking however is as a consequence of this unscheduled move I am now, forced to let go of 44 highly trained employees, that are now looking for new employment!
This forced interruption to a local success story, that managed to turnover stable income (average R1.5m a month) in a down economy is unfortunate, but I am now looking for potential sites and operational equity partners to reopen bigger and stronger than ever! If you believe you have what we need, contact me at email@example.com. This is also a good chance to launch a new crowdfunding campaign for Beerhouse Fourways 2.0 once we found a suitable site. The existing pioneering equity crowdfunding campaign for Beerhouse Tygervalley continues, as this is a separate legal entity and we have offered Fourways employees to relocate to Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs.
In the meantime, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you got vacant positions for loyal and hard-working hospitality professionals or with supplier-related questions. All invoices will be paid as per usual.
I want to thank the loyal Beerhouse following for consuming 375,694 litres of beers from 7829 kegs and 426,735 bottles over the last 5 years in Fourways and promise to come back in yellow as soon as we can!
Stay thirsty, stay curious!
Beerhouse owner and ‘Head Dreamer’.
We are happy to share all 2019 medal winners of the South African National Beer Trophy. At the award ceremony at BEERHOUSE Cape Town the Best of Show award went to Afro Caribbean Brewing Co – Jungle Paradise
Best of Show: Afro Caribbean – Jungle Paradise
Best Wheat Beer: Darling Brew – Pixie Dust
Best Light Beer: Zwakala – Limpopo Lager
Best Dark Beer: Cape Brewing Company – Doppelbock
People’s Choice Award: ABInBev – Carling Black Label
The Kennel Brewery – Alesation
The Italian Job Brewery – IPA (Forza)
The Franschhoek Beer Co. – The Stout
Stellenbosch Brewing Co. – Born Free Pale Ale
Shields indie Brewing Company – White Falcon American Wheat Beer
Sabie Brewery Company – Shangaan Stout
Old Potter’s Brewhouse – Cityslicker
Old Potter’s Brewhouse – My China
Mad Giant – Urban Legend
Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Roadhog Porter
Devil’s Peak Brewing Company – Devil’s Peak Lager
Cederberg Brewery – Voetsek IPA
ABlnBev – Castle Milk Stout
Zwakala – Moringa Ale
Valley Breweries (Pty)LTD – 783 Pale Ale
Triggerfish Brewery (Pty) Ltd – Monsterfish
The Italian Job Brewery – Amber Ale (Amore)
The Italian Job Brewery – Dark Lager (Gioia)
The Italian Job Brewery – Weiss (Amicizia)
The Franschhoek Beer Co. – Three Oaks
The Franschhoek Beer Co. – La Saison
The Franschhoek Beer Co. – The Stout – Barrel aged 750ml
Table 58 Brewing – No 5 IPA
St Francis Brewing Company – St Francis Wildside IPA
Sabie Brewery Company – Long Tom Lager (Dunkel)
Riot Beer – Valve IPA
Riot Beer – Vintage 005
Pot & Scot Craft Brewing – Spice of Life Belgian Pale Ale
Poison City Brewing – Durban Poison Cannabis Lager
Newlands Spring Brewing Company – Jacobs Pale Ale
Mad Giant – Super Session
Mad Giant – Killer Hop
Kings Craft Brewing Co. – Monks Brew
Jack Black Brewing Company – Skeleton coast IPA
Jack Black Brewing Company – Atlantic weiss
Jack Black Brewing Company – Lumberjack Amber Ale
Jack Black Brewing Company – Butcher Block Pale Ale
Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Worthog Indian Pale Ale
Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Haybale Saison
Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Hogtale African Pale Ale
Hey Joe Brewery Company – Saison
Hey Joe Brewery Company – Belgian Lager
Hey Joe Brewery Company – Witbier
Hey Joe Brewery Company – Blonde
Hermanus Micro Brewery(PTY) LTD – Hermanus Pale Ale
Frasers Folly Craft Beer – Brandy Cask Finished Ale 2018
Drifter Brewing Company – Scallywag IPA
Drifter Brewing Company – El Capitan Mexican Lager
Devil’s Peak Brewing Company – Devil’s Peak Kings Blockhouse IPA
Devil’s Peak Brewing Company – Devil’s Peak Brewing Company
Colab Entry (frontier Beer Co.) – The Haymaker- Round 2
Cederberg Brewery – Boggom Blonder Ale
Cederberg Brewery – Original Lager
Cape Brewing Company – Amber Weiss
Cape Brewing Company – Pilsner
Brewhaha Jbay – Stormy Seas
Brewhaha Jbay – Endless Summer
Brauhaus am Damm – Brauhaus Marzen
ABlnBev – Lion Lager
As in the last 2 previous years Beerhouse organised the ‘People’s Choice Award’ and for a third year running the winner is Zamalek, old SAB’s Carling Black Label, showing what marketing and market share do to customer’s perception and how much work is still ahead for the craft beer movement to turn into a mass-market product. All other medals were rated by certified beer judges and sommeliers with a final best of show tasting where beers where judged for subjective ‘drinkability’
In a remarkable strategic move, Devil’s Peak has acquired all taps by South Africa’s biggest craft beer distributor company “The Tap Room” and immediately began to remove competing breweries from the bar counters of this country, replacing (some, but not all of) them with their own wide range of brands.
After Heineken bought craft breweries like Jack Black, Soweto Gold and Stellenbrau and SAB’s aquisition by AB-InBev and the influx of their international brand portfolio (like Budweiser, Hoegaarden, Corona, etc) this the next big story, that is going to affect beer lovers in South Africa.
Since opening our doors on Long Street 5 years ago, BEERHOUSE has always owned their own tap equipment to have absolute independence on which beers to put on our 25+ taps and which one to pull at our own discretion. Nearly all other restaurants and bars in South Africa rely on taps being installed and maintained by breweries or distributors and their variety on tap will be seriously affected by this move, while we will proudly continue offering an independent variety of the best beers from all over South Africa and beyond.
These Brands are brewed by Devil’s Peak and distributed by their Signal Hill Products umbrella company: Devil’s Peak, Alpha Cider, Mitchell’s, Fokof Lager, Little Wolf, St Francis Brewing. They are also brewing many house beers like our own LIT Lager, contract-brew for international brands Mikkeler, Fierce Beer and Amundsen Brewery plus own exclusive distribution rights to Guinness(!) and Striped Horse for South Africa, meaning that people will walk into bars seeing a big variety of beers on tap, not understanding, that they all come from Devil’s Peak, squeezing small independent breweries out!
Industry veteran Carl Nienaber broke the news on Facebook, where he explained the significance of The Tap Room’s (aka “The Draught Guys”) asset acquisition by Devil’s Peak (aka “The Pizza Dudes” as they are funded by US money, that also invested into Pizza Hut), which he allowed me to quote in full (scroll down for my own comment):
“This week, quietly and without fanfare, the landscape of the South African craft beer scene changed radically for the worse when the country’s largest craft beer distributor (who I’ll hereafter refer to as The Draught Guys) sold all their draught dispensing equipment to the country’s largest “craft” brewing group (hereafter The Pizza Dudes). Overnight, many hundreds of taps in scores of restaurants and bars became the property of one brewery.
To put the scope of this development into perspective, let me explain the underlying business model driving draught beer sales in the craft category. Draught dispensing equipment refers to the taps, towers, coolers and other items required to pour beer out of a keg, through a tap into your glass. This equipment is quite expensive to buy, install and maintain which means that the majority of bar and restaurant owners choose not to own their own equipment. Instead, they typically take on the services of a distributor or brewery who will install and maintain the equipment in exchange for sales exclusivity on that equipment. So, if my bar has equipment installed by a particular distributor/brewery, then I undertake only to order products from that distributor/brewery. The cost of the equipment is then amortized over a period through the profit margin generated by the sale of kegs.
This model has proven to be very popular in recent years, resulting in the proliferation of craft beer on tap throughout the country. Over time, a certain amount of consolidation has taken place – we’ve seen the majority of tap space in the trade being dominated by the Big 4 local craft breweries and – significantly – by The Draught Guys. Competition for taps has become fierce recently simply as a function of limited real estate. A bar can only sustainably operate a certain number of taps before they start running into issues of space and stock expiry, meaning that every brewery who wants to grow their market share either must put taps into outlets that don’t currently have taps (a rarity these days) OR they need to convince an outlet to replace their taps. The second option happens quite frequently, particularly when certain of the bigger breweries offer aggressive deals and low pricing.
This is where The Draught Guys have hitherto played a very important role in our industry. As a distributor, they represent a large portfolio of breweries which they can offer to trade customers. However, unlike most distributors, who only offer a delivery service, The Draught Guys also owned a huge stockpile of dispensing equipment that they could install in the trade. What this means is that if I owned a bar and I chose the services of The Draught Guys, they would install a dispensing system at no cost to me and I would then be free to choose whatever products they offered in their basket, whether it was from a big craft brewery or from a tiny micro operation.
Additionally, if I had multiple taps, I could order products from a whole range of different companies, thereby giving the consumer a choice of products from different breweries.
The Draught Guys’ model was hugely beneficial to smaller breweries in particular, who – unlike the Big 4 – can’t afford to buy, install and maintain their own equipment. In fact, this model was so successful the The Draught Guys owned probably as much dispensing equipment in the trade as any one of the Big 4 Breweries. And a large proportion of those taps were pouring beer that was not supplied by one of the Big 4. The Draught Guys were central in providing the craft beer consumer with a diversity of interesting and independent products and this is why the sale of their equipment to The Pizza Dudes can’t be good for the industry.
One of the reasons that the “craft” beer industry came into being in the first place, is that consumers grew weary of being offered only the illusion of choice provided by a handful of macro breweries making light lagers. Craft beer gave people choice again, not only in terms of the beer styles on offer, but also in terms of who produced the beer.
Now, in a tactical master stroke, The Pizza Dudes appear to have taken us closer to the pre-craft era than we’ve been in years. What have they done specifically, you ask?
Step one: create the illusion of consumer choice. The Pizza Dudes set up various in-house brands in addition to their core brand; they quietly acquired several small independent breweries; they secured distribution rights for some big international brands. They were now able to offer a product basket appeared diverse and interesting to the consumer, even thought the vast majority of those products were produced in the same factory.
Step two: hit the market HARD. Armed with their lovely product basket, The Pizza Dudes’ sale force began aggressively targeting beer tap market share. By leveraging economies of scale, and by not shying away from loss leaders, they were able to offer keg prices and incentive deals that no other brewery in the country could match. This proved immensely successful and soon the Pizza Dudes had the largest market share of any individual craft beer supplier.
Notwithstanding this success, The Draught Guys remained an obstacle to the Pizza Dudes’ market domination. Unlike their other 3 main competitors, The Draught Guys could also make a compelling case to customers in terms of the variety of their offering.
So they implemented Step three: buy out your competition.
Effective this week, all of The Draught Guys’ dispensing equipment has become the property of the Pizza Dudes. That means that the Pizza Dudes now own taps in the trade that are pouring their competitors’ products. And in light of their historical marketplace tactics, is it likely that the Pizza Dudes will abide this? I think not.
Over the next few weeks we are likely to see dozens, if not hundreds of taps that had been pouring beers from small independent breweries being replaced with products from the basket of one company – the biggest, least independent craft brewery in South Africa. And if that’s not a loss for the craft beer consumer and the small producers in South Africa, then I don’t know what is.
My own comment and Beerhouse perspective is: We are not here to badmouth Devil’s Peak, Tap Room or any other market player. I got mad respect for Devil’s Peak beer quality, innovation and their pioneering work and we proudly work with and sell their products, but it is important for us to educate our customers on the source of the beloved product and make sure they can make informed decisions. I do believe, that Devil’s Peak is helping grow “craft” beer, by lowering the price point and making it more accessible, but I also believe, that we will need real and authentic variety to convince these customers to drink craft forever. Craft beer is not a winner-takes-it-all market, but can only thrive, if the ecosystem, the craft beer community is functional.
Old Taproom customers have already lost taps in the few days since the change was announced and there’s now a distribution gap in the market. I do hope, that breweries, that lose their taps will find new independent outlets and distribution partners. My Beer Revolution group of companies happens to have a dormant nationwide distribution license and licensed warehouse in Paarden Island, which I’m happy to utilize, if required for such an undertaking…
P.S. after publishing this article an intense debate erupted on social media, some even questioning, if Devil’s Peak is still craft
P.P.S. Devil’s Peak finally released an official statement on Monday emphasizing, that they are going to continue sharing a lot of their lines with small brewers as they always did…
P.P.P.S. I was sent this copy of The Tap Rooms email to their brewer-customers:
We wish to advise you that the Board of Shareholders at The Tap Room has taken a decision to sell its assets in trade to Signal Hill Products. We have until now been unable to inform any our stakeholders of these happenings as we have been bound by confidentiality.
This decision has not been taken lightly and was motivated by the consolidation in the industry. In addition to experiencing substantial pressure by large players targeting our outlet space we have also seen a significant drop in volume of product sold. As a result, the sale of our assets was a strategic imperative that we believe will enable the Tap Room to go on from strength to strength.
Pursuant to the sale we are changing our business model to be one that focuses on distribution and dispensing services. Should you be interested in us doing installs on your behalf, we will gladly assist where possible. We would also like to continue distributing your products going forward.
We can advise that it is not in SHP’s interest to remove all competitor lines, and they have intimated that they want to work with you guys going forward as they do with all other breweries. The Tap Room will continue to service and maintain these lines and will continue to collect line rentals.
Joe Louis Kazadi Kanyona – 32, who was employed as a doorman at Beerhouse On Long, was stabbed by unknown assailants in front of Beerhouse on Long on Saturday at 10:38 pm. The incident occurred after Kanyona requested identity documents from a customer. Despite being attended to by medics, Kanyona tragically passed away.
Joe, as he was affectionately known by the Beerhouse team, was a much-loved colleague and friend, and although he worked in the security environment he had a gentle soul, friendly demeanour and ready smile.
The Beerhouse family has been deeply hurt by this tragic incident, and we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Kanyona family and loved ones.
We would like to assure all concerned that we will do everything in our power to look after Joe’s family. Due to many inquiries received, we’ve set up a fundraiser page on BackaBuddy – all of the proceeds will go straight to his family as he left a wife and his 4-month old baby behind. Donations of baby formula, powdered milk, nappies, baby clothes, etc can be dropped at Beerhouse on 223 Long Street.
In honour of our friend and colleague Joe Kanyona, Beerhouse will reopen at 4pm on Monday the 22nd June, with 100% of the takings on the day going to Joe’s family.
After months of planning and construction, weeks of training and many times the question “when are you going to open?”, we are proud to invite you to our official opening celebration, this Thursday, July 24th, from 8pm at the Beerhouse Fourways, at Pineslopes Boulevard (same complex as Billy the Bum’s & Stones) on Witkoppen Road!
Since opening the first Beerhouse on Long Street, Cape Town in 2013 we were often asked to bring our variety of 99 bottles and 20 taps to Johannesburg. We’re proud to bring Africas biggest beer variety to Gauteng and open in Fourways!
First 25 people to walk in will receive a complimentary bottle of our 999 limited Gold Rush House Brew bottles.
For a chance to WIN ALL 99 BOTTLES, enter your email on Fourways.co.za and share the news with your friends!
If you’re working for media you can get invited to our media launch earlier that day: Please RSVP!