The Beginning of a Legacy: Charles Glass

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Hero

Over the past 120 years, SAB has grown into a much-loved household name, ingrained in the lives of countless people across South Africa. This month, we celebrate 12 decades of heritage, and what better way to begin than with the story of Charles Glass, Castle Lager and the very beginning of SAB’s captivating legacy.

1864

In 1864, British-born brewer Charles Glass established Glass & Co – a small brewery in northern Natal that would eventually change the face of South African brewing forever. With the discovery of the Witwatersrand reef in the Transvaal just two years later, Glass, along with countless others from all over the world, made the move to the mines. The mass migration, triggered by the lure of unearthed gold, was so great that just 20 years later, the area was officially proclaimed the town of Johannesburg.

Thirst

Glass foresaw the money-making opportunities available on the Rand however, in order to establish his new brewery, he would need financial backing. After some back and forth, Glass formed a partnership with businessmen Jim Welsh and Henry Brown Marshall in which Glass was responsible for technical skill and management, while Marshall and Welsh provided the capital.

Around the same time, Marshall made a second investment – the purchasing of a large plot of land to accommodate the influx of fortune-seekers. Dubbed ‘Marshall’s Township’, the area quickly became the business centre of town. This is where Glass established his new brewery and where, along with his wife, Lisa, they sold and brewed their beer. The move to Johannesburg had not been an easy one, and with hops and malt being difficult to source, Glass had to import his key ingredients from England.

Breaking

Glass began by selling his brews off the back of a barrow to the hard-drinking, hard-working prospectors. However, the market wasn’t quite as receptive as he and his associates had anticipated. More accustomed to drinking very cheap hard tack mixed with tobacco juice and pepper, it took a little while before the miners were won over by Glass’s new brew.

Birth

It was this beer that secured his market and in 1884 Castle was given its now renowned label with a three-turreted fortress. Castle Beer had arrived. Such was its success that Glass renamed his business ‘Castle Brewery’ and, working with a highly skilled cooper, started making wooden kegs to sate the brand’s ever-growing distribution demand.

Selling

Naturally, it wasn’t long before other brewing companies took notice of Glass’s growing success. Upon visiting the Rand, Frederick Mead of Natal Brewing Syndicate in Pietermaritzburg quickly realised the market was far larger than in Natal. Negotiations began and in July 1892 Mead purchased Castle Brewery and its trademark for £18, 000.

Next Chapter

Frederick Mead and his syndicate were now the proud new owners of the Castle brand and Brewery, positioning them perfectly to enter the Johannesburg market and embark on the next chapter in brewing history – a journey that would ultimately culminate in the formation of South African Breweries.

Now, 120 years on, SAB is not only a home-grown business success story, the company has grown into a global powerhouse. Castle Lager remains a national favourite, with many more delicious brews joining the brand, such as the internationally acclaimed Carling Black Label. Through its brands, corporate expansion and its investments in South African communities, SAB has had a profound impact on millions of lives. Here’s to another 120 years of proud heritage – cheers!

#SAB120 

HeroOver the past 120 years, SAB has grown into a much-loved household name, ingrained in the lives of countless people across South Africa. This month, we celebrate 12 decades of heritage, and what better way to begin than with the story of Charles Glass, Castle Lager and the very beginning of SAB’s captivating legacy.1896

In 1864, British-born brewer Charles Glass established Glass & Co – a small brewery in northern Natal that would eventually change the face of South African brewing forever.
With the discovery of the Witwatersrand reef in the Transvaal just two years later, Glass, along with countless others from all over the world, made the move to the mines. The mass migration, triggered by the lure of unearthed gold, was so great that just 20 years later, the area was officially proclaimed the town of Johannesburg.

Thirst

Glass foresaw the money-making opportunities available on the Rand however, in order to establish his new brewery, he would need financial backing. After some back and forth, Glass formed a partnership with businessmen Jim Welsh and Henry Brown Marshall in which Glass was responsible for technical skill and management, while Marshall and Welsh provided the capital.

Around the same time, Marshall made a second investment – the purchasing of a large plot of land to accommodate the influx of fortune-seekers. Dubbed ‘Marshall’s Township’, the area quickly became the business centre of town. This is where Glass established his new brewery and where, along with his wife, Lisa, they sold and brewed their beer. The move to Johannesburg had not been an easy one, and with hops and malt being difficult to source, Glass had to import his key ingredients from England.

Breaking

Glass began by selling his brews off the back of a barrow to the hard-drinking, hard-working prospectors. However, the market wasn’t quite as receptive as he and his associates had anticipated. More accustomed to drinking very cheap hard tack mixed with tobacco juice and pepper, it took a little while before the miners were won over by Glass’s new brew.

Birth

It was this beer that secured his market and in 1884 Castle was given its now renowned label with a three-turreted fortress. Castle Beer had arrived. Such was its success that Glass renamed his business ‘Castle Brewery’ and, working with a highly skilled cooper, started making wooden kegs to sate the brand’s ever-growing distribution demand.

Selling

Naturally, it wasn’t long before other brewing companies took notice of Glass’s growing success. Upon visiting the Rand, Frederick Mead of Natal Brewing Syndicate in Pietermaritzburg quickly realised the market was far larger than in Natal. Negotiations began and in July 1892 Mead purchased Castle Brewery and its trademark for £18, 000.

SAB

Frederick Mead and his syndicate were now the proud new owners of the Castle brand and Brewery, positioning them perfectly to enter the Johannesburg market and embark on the next chapter in brewing history – a journey that would ultimately culminate in the formation of South African Breweries.

Now, 120 years on, SAB is not only a home-grown business success story, the company has grown into a global powerhouse. Castle Lager remains a national favourite, with many more delicious brews joining the brand, such as the internationally acclaimed Carling Black Label. Through its brands, corporate expansion and its investments in South African communities, SAB has had a profound impact on millions of lives. Here’s to another 120 years of proud heritage – cheers!

 

#SAB120

Comments

comments

Related Posts

RICARDO TADEU – ZONE PRESIDENT FOR AFRICA

Our Zone President for Africa, Ricardo Tadeu, has completed his first 150 days in office and has put his 20 […]

sab-sia-blog-thumb

Our SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards Winners

This year the annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards was given a big boost following the conclusion of a new […]

thumbnail

Yokesh Maharaj

Yokesh Maharaj has had an illustrious 15-year career at SAB. During this time, he has had the opportunity to hold […]

Connect

Related articles

Beer personalities

What your choice of beer says about you

Beer Culture in a Sociable World People consciously choose to drink beer for specific reasons. Maybe it’s grounded in taste, […]

SAB-Blog_Sports

A Sporting Heritage

From football and rugby to netball, SAB is proud of its long association with South African sport. It’s a rich […]

Feature-Image-2015-And-Beyond

SAB: 2015 and beyond

As SAB sits amongst the biggest beer producers in the world, we look at 5 key areas of Prosper – a set of ambitious sustainable development targets.

SAB -- Blog Template -- Heritage

SAB and the Non-Discrimination Code

Over the past 120 years, SAB has continually led the way in beer brewing, both on home soil and across […]

SAB -- Blog Template -- WOB

SAB World of Beer

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the SAB World of Beer is so much more than an educational tour. It’s […]