Craft Champs 2015 open for entry

14 Oct 15


The third annual National Craft Brewers Championships is searching for South Africa’s best brews once again.

The competition, hosted by SAB and Craft Beer South Africa (CBSA) invites professional craft brewers to enter their finest products for the recognition and reward they deserve.

“Craft brewing is about exploring less conventional beer recipes, a creative expression, a sense of place and a story and we at SAB are excited to be co-hosting the country’s premier craft competition, ” said Petr Vesely, SAB Chief Brewer.

The competition aims to reward the craft beer movement for their contribution to growing the culture of beer in South Africa.

“Craft beers, once only available in the bigger cities, are now spreading to smaller towns with more and more craft brewers setting up shop. All this means greater competition and can only lead to better brews for the public, ” said Brian Stewart, CBSA Chairman.  “However, so much choice can often be confusing and we hope the SAB / CBSA National Craft Brewers Championships will assist beer lovers in identifying the finest products.”

“We want people to be curious about what is in their glass, to be interested and to ask questions. So whether it is a lager, pilsener or an India Pale Ale they are drinking, we want consumers to be engaged and the craft beer movement has certainly helped to create that engagement, ” said Vesely.

SAB has supported the craft industry over the years by sponsoring festivals, assisting brewers with information and access to raw materials such as malt and hops.

The Championship continues to evolve each year. “The 2014 edition added a Cider category and the 2015 edition boasts a Journalist’s Choice Award in both the Beer and Cider categories. The winners of these will be decided upon by our panel of beer-loving journalists, ” said Stewart.

The rules state that a brewer can enter any beer they regularly brew and is commercially available, as long as it fits in the categories as laid out in the Beer Judge Certification Programme style 2015 guidelines. Adding to the competition’s credibility, it will once again be audited by Grant Thornton and judging will be overseen by Sean Watts, a well-known BJCP judge and three times convenor of the National Craft Brewer Championships.

The judging panel consists of some of the country’s finest beer palates who are all BJCP accredited, including beer writer, judge and MC Lucy Corne, aka The Brew Mistress.

Beer prizes

First prize:

  • R50 000 from SAB
  • 150kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
  • 150kg dark malt from SAB Maltings (Alrode)
  • 2kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms

Second prize:

  • R30 000 from SAB
  • 100kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
  • 100kg dark malt from SAB Maltings Alrode
  • 1, 5kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms

Third prize:

  • R10 000 from SAB
  • 50kg pale malt from SAB Maltings Caledon
  • 50g dark malt from SAB Maltings Alrode
  • 1kg Hops from SAB Hop Farms
  • R12 000 worth of consultancy or training from Global Beverage Solutions

Cider prizes

First prize:

  • R50 000 from SAB

Second Prize:

  • R30 000 from SAB

Third Prize:

  • R10 000 from SAB

Journalist’s Choice Award:

(new award category)

Best Beer

  • All-inclusive participation in SAB’s annual Heritage Tour to George, Caledon and Cape Town for 2 people sponsored by SAB

Best Cider

  • All-inclusive participation in SAB’s annual Heritage Tour to George, Caledon and Cape Town for 2 people sponsored by SAB

How to Enter

  • To enter go to this page and complete the entry form.
  • The competition closes Friday, 23 October 2015 at 17h00.
  • Beer samples must be delivered to the SAB Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning in Kyalami, Johannesburg.
  • Judging will take place on Saturday, 24 October 2015.
  • Winners will be announced at an event at SAB’s central office in Johannesburg on Thursday, 03 December 2015.


Note: Amendment to Competition Rules on 13 October 2015:

Please note the amendments to Sections 5 & 8 which refer to microbreweries and brands within co-ops.



About Craft Beer South Africa

It is estimated that about 160 micro-breweries are currently operating on a commercial basis in South Africa. Standard Bank SA[1] estimate that craft beers now enjoy a 2.1% market share in South Africa as opposed to a mere 0.3% in 2011. CBSA, as the craft brewers’ recently established representative organisation, believes that competitions of this nature are important to improve quality and help to educate and inform beer lovers regardless of their preferences.

About the Beer Judge Certification Program (

In 1985 the BJCP came into being because there was a growing demand by competition entrants and organisers for a resource that could be used to manage all the aspects of a competition. The purpose of the BJCP is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills. Their methodology was adopted for the Championship because it has been honed over the last 28 years.

South Africa and the BJCP

South Africa currently shares 6th place with the United Kingdom for the number of Judges per country. In 2004, six South Africans (including Sean Watts) were the first people to pass the exam outside of continental North America.

About GBS

Global Beverage Solutions (GBS) was started by Ian Jones in 2002 to provide Human Resource Development (HRD) solutions to the global brewing sector. In the last decade they have worked with most of the major brewers across the globe including Heineken, Diageo and SAB Miller. Their projects have taken them as far afield as Africa, Australasia and eastern and western Europe.

GBS’ consulting falls into three main areas – project implementation, HRD consulting and learning and development.

Recently these have been incorporated into a new subsidiary, GBS Craft, to support the exciting and ever-growing craft brewing scene in South Africa.

About SAB Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning

The South African Breweries (SAB) Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning (WOL) is a conference centre, manufacturing and training site in Kyalami, Johannesburg where both SAB staff and those from independent companies come for training.