Heritage

The South African Breweries (SAB) is a subsidiary of AB InBev. Founded in 1895, SAB is South Africa’s top brewer and leading distributor of beer.

For more than 120 years SAB has been an integral thread in the social fabric of our country and continues to play a crucial role in the national economy. The company operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres. Its portfolio of beer brands meets the needs of a wide range of consumers and includes some of the country’s most popular beer brands ­namely Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsener, Castle Lager, Castle Lite and Castle Milk Stout.

SAB also owns a hop production company, The South African Breweries Hop Farms (Pty) Ltd; a barley farming company, The South African Breweries Barley Farms (Pty) Ltd; a barley malting company, The South African Breweries Maltings (Pty) Ltd; and a 60% share of the metal crown manufacturer, Coleus Packaging (Pty) Ltd.

As South Africa’s leading brewer, SAB is committed to promoting responsible alcohol consumption – both inside and outside the company. As a subsidiary of AB InBev, it subscribes to the Group’s Alcohol Framework and has a comprehensive Code of Commercial Communication in place. SAB also actively seeks to encourage collaboration across the areas of education, access to information, law enforcement and parental involvement to encourage responsible alcohol behaviour.

Having adopted its first equity policy as early as 1971, SAB has been a pioneer for change in South Africa. In 2009, SAB tabled its trailblazing broad-based black economic empowerment transaction, SAB Zenzele. Through its various corporate social responsibility programmes, SAB actively invests in community partnerships and works tirelessly at socio-economic and enterprise development initiatives to build a stronger South Africa.

Find out more about the SAB history and track the milestones that have contributed to our success today.

To read more, go to: SAB Foundation

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SAB Timeline

1652
Cape Town established as a replenishment station for ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope on the journeys between Europe and India.
1658
Jan van Riebeeck and his colonists brew clear beer in the Cape for the first time.
1696
South Africa’s first brewery is established at Newlands.
1889
Anders Ohlsson bought the old Cape Breweries, improved them and called them Ohlssons Cape Breweries.
1895
The South Africa Breweries (SAB) is founded and Castle Lager is launched from a newly-commissioned lager brewery with an annual capacity of 50,000 barrels.
1897
SAB lists on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as the first industrial share.
1898
SAB lists on the London Stock Exchange.
1912
Anders Ohlssons dies and his friends brew a beer in his honour. His nickname had been The Lion so they named the beer Lion Lager.
1953 – 1955
The building of Castle Brewery in Isando, east of Johannesburg, is underway with the largest brewhouse in Africa and one of the most modern in the world.
1955
Castle Brewing buys out the Ohlsson’s and Chandlers Union Breweries groups for R400,000. The company becomes known for the first time as The South African Breweries.
1962
Prohibition is lifted on the consumption of liquor by black South Africans, opening the way for national availability of more responsible liquor alternatives.
1966
Brewing of Carling Black Label begins under license to the Carling Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
1970
SAB celebrates its 75th year by becoming fully incorporated in South Africa, with 80% of its shareholders being South African. During this decade SAB makes history by becoming the first South African corporate to instigate affirmative action and preferential procurement.
1985
South Africa's short-term banking facilities are suddenly called up, trade and cultural sanctions and boycotts are imposed, and the country becomes almost totally isolated. SAB activates complex defensive investment structures abroad. When other companies disinvested, SAB consistently ploughed investment into resources; when others lost faith, the company publicly proclaimed confidence in the future of South Africa and its people.
1994
South Africa’s first fully democratic election is held and a five-year government of national unity takes office.
1995
State President Nelson Mandela opens SAB's World of Beer (then the Centenary Centre) in the Newtown cultural precinct of Johannesburg. SAB celebrates 100 years with a share price of R100, market capitalisation of R30 billion and a record R10 billion in added value for the South African economy.
1996
SAB becomes the largest industrial group in South Africa and one of the world's top brewing-based organisations.
1998
SAB publishes its first corporate citizenship review, reflecting SAB's real commitment to social responsibility to all stakeholders in all markets.
1999
SAB moves its primary listing back to London, raising £300 million in international markets. SAB is a FTSE 100 stock.
1999
SAB opens the Fransen Street microbrewery, selling a small collection of speciality craft beers that had initially been produced for craft fairs.
2000- 2001
Total sales of beer and other beverages reaches 77 million hectolitres - about 44 000 ‘drinks’, or 300 ml every minute. During 2001, turnover from SAB's international operations accounts for 42% of group turnover, a remarkable achievement in a relatively short period. A pan-African strategic alliance with the Castel group offers the opportunity to invest in promising new African markets and the benefits economies of scale.
2002
SABMiller plc is formed as SAB plc acquires 100% of Miller Brewing Company, the second largest brewer in the United States by volume, and changes its name to SABMiller plc. Upon the acquisition, SABMiller becomes the second largest brewer by volume in the world.
2003
SABMiller's Polish subsidiary, Kompania Piwowarska, acquires a 98.8% equity interest in Browar Dojlidy (Bialystok, Poland) and SABMiller makes its first significant investment in Western Europe through the key Italian market as it acquires a majority interest in Birra Peroni S.p.A.
2004
SAB launches a new corporate identity and a new corporate brand campaign, the first time in more than a decade that a corporate brand campaign was run. SAB wins several awards, including the Best Company to Work For (Corporate Research Foundation and Finance Week); Top Marketing Company of the Year (National Business Awards) and Marketing Organisation of the Year at the Louries Advertising Awards. In December 2004, SAB acquires 100% of Amalgamated Beverage Industries, which becomes the soft drink division of SAB, and the largest beverages company in South Africa is formed.
2005
SABMiller acquires Colombian based brewer, Grupo Empresarial Bavaria.
2006
SABMiller continues to grow its international business, making new acquisitions in several developing countries, and maintaining its position as the second largest brewer in the world by volume. SAB in South Africa introduces a new apple ale, Sarita, as well as expanding its range of Brutal Fruit variants. Peroni Nastro Azzurro is launched in South Africa. Both the beer and soft drinks businesses continue to grow, and SAB is named the Most Admired Company in South Africa by Ask Afrika for the second year in a row.
2007
In March 2007, the 40 year agreement between SABMiller plc and Heineken N.V. which allowed SAB to brew and distribute Amstel Lager in South Africa, is terminated, sparking a new era of competition for the industry. In the same year, SAB introduces a new premium brand as part of the Hansa stable, Hansa Marzen Gold. Other innovations include a new BonAqua water range, a lifestyle range, sparkling water and bottles featuring sports nozzles.
2008
SAB launches Dutch heritage beer Grolsch following SABMiller's acquisition of Koninklijke Grolsch N.V. in early 2008. SAB continues its expansion into premium brands with the launch of Dreher Premium Lager.
2009
SAB announces SAB Zenzele – a broad-based black empowerment transaction aimed at putting approximately 9% of the company ownership in black hands.
2010
SAB builds 15 state of the art Alcohol Evidence Centres across the country at a cost of R1 million each as part of its innovative alcohol strategy launched in October 2009.
2011
The value of SAB's investment in tackling alcohol abuse totals over R100 million since the launch of the Alcohol Strategy in October 2009, and includes real impact programmes to combat drinking and driving, foetal alcohol syndrome and underage drinking. SAB launches a refreshed Reality Check campaign, which includes the 'No Regret Friday', a movement using social media and influential South Africans to encourage people to commit to not drinking and driving.
2011
SABMiller plc announces its acquisition of Fosters Group Limited. The deal will provide SABMiller with exposure to Australia's strong economic growth prospects; a leading position in the stable and profitable Australian beer industry; and the opportunity to apply SABMiller's capabilities and scale to improve Foster's financial and operating performance.
2012
SAB launches a new campaign to tackle underage drinking. The campaign, called ‘You Decide’, has reached over 500 000 learners in 1000 schools across the country.
2013
SAB successfully launches South Africa's first ever flavoured beer, Flying Fish.

SAB announces it will invest hundreds of millions of rands in the construction of a state-of-the-art new maltings plant in Alrode, Gauteng. Construction of the plant commences during the same year.
2014
SAB launches its new Sustainable Development ambition, called Prosper. The initiative is a vision for the future in which shared prosperity is at the heart of SAB's business success – because when communities prosper, so do we.

SAB launches Castle Lite Lime – the same extra-cold refreshment that beer fans know and love, but with a hint of lime flavour.
2015
In May 2015, SAB celebrates 120 years of brewing beer, making friends and building a nation.

SAB successfully launches Castle Milk Stout Chocoloate a new chocolate-infused addition to the Castle Milk Stout family.

At the end of 2015 SAB launched Carling Blue Label Beer, our first single malt beer, simultaneously across eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
 
2016
SABMiller bought out by AB InBev in one of the biggest transactions ever. SAB continues as before and is now part of the AB InBev Africa zone under the leadership of Ricardo Tadeu.