SA University Beer Brews Ready For SAB Intervarsity Challenge

25 Aug 14

Some of South Africa’s top tertiary institutions are in the running for top honours in the 7th annual SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge, taking place this coming weekend of 29th and 30th August.

A total of 14 tertiary institutions equipped with their own micro-brewery and a brewing team, have entered the competition. These are:

University of Limpopo
University of Potchefstroom
University of Stellenbosch
Cape Peninsula University
University of Kwazulu Natal
University of KZN Westville Campus
University of Cape Town
Pretoria University
University of Pietermaritzburg
University of the Free State
Rhodes University
University of Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Witwatersrand University

The defending champions is Pretoria University whose Black Forest Lager claimed the Ben Lamaletie IBD Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge floating trophy, as well as the top honour of Castle Lager Best Bru Award and the Carling Black Label Champion Lager, last year. They beat 2012 winners, the University of Cape Town, who was presented with the award for Best Speciality Beer in 2013.

In terms of this year’s competition, products brewed will be judged under the following competition sponsored categories, each carrying a prize of between R10 000 and R25 000:

  • Carling Black Label Champion Lager
  • Redds Best Cider
  • Millers Genuine Draft Best Speciality Beer
  • Hansa Beeg Dreamer Best Label
  • Castle Milk Stout Winter Warmer

An additional award, the Castle Lager Best Bru, will be presented to the team with the overall best beer from any of the other categories.

Further to this, participating university teams have the opportunity to win entry into an academic brewing programme offered by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD). The IBD is a longstanding partner of SAB Intervarsity Brewing Challenge and presents the overall winners of the competition with the Ben Lamaletie IBD floating trophy.

Participating universities each have their own micro-breweries where students brew, ferment, condition and package their beers prior to the final stages of the competition when they are tasted by independent and accredited craft beer tasters.

The Intervarsity Challenge is a key element of SAB’s promotion of beer as the natural choice for the moderate and responsible drinker. As a low-alcohol beverage, beer is created to be savoured which adds to the enjoyment of life for the overwhelming majority of our consumers who drink it responsibly.

The Intervarsity Challenge thus seeks to promote responsible consumption amongst those students who chose to drink beer.

SAB has helped fund, along with the South African Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA), the construction of micro-breweries at several leading universities across South Africa. These micro-breweries serve as valuable teaching aids for students involved in microbiology, chemical technology and engineering programmes.


The SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge was founded by former SAB Senior Trade Brewer and pioneer Brewing Legend, Ben Lamaletie.  It was through his efforts that SAB sponsored the first university micro-brewery at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus in 2003.

SAB Prospecton Brewery in KZN and UKZN challenged teams from 6 other universities with micro-breweries to take part in the first Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge. The competition has since spread to many other Universities in South Africa, which took advantage of installing micro-breweries as part of their scientific syllabus.

While the concept of the intervarsity brewing challenge was started in 2003, the first official SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge was initiated in 2006 as a means of encouraging responsible beer appreciation amongst students and to introduce prospective SAB employees to the business. In addition to this, SAB uses the initiative to help create a beer culture in South Africa.