2019 – What a year!
On a personal level, 2019 has been a tough year. For a lot of friends in the brewing industry, 2019 has also been a tough year. We’ve seen the emergence of ‘craft’ Lite Lagers at many breweries in order to pay the bills. Whilst I am a fan of a great lager, it is easy to be quite pessimistic by the sheer volume of poor ones on our shelves.
Moving forward into 2020, a new year and a new decade, I choose to rather be optimistic about the future of craft beer in South Africa. Aegir Project continue to bring trending styles to our shores, a highlight for me being the Key Lime pie, served ‘Omnipollo style’ (though at a quarter of the price of Omnipollo!) Their recent collab with Soul Barrel, a Hazy IPA, was another highlight. Little Wolf released The Sour Plum this year, a wold class sour beer and in my opinion one of the best to come out of South Africa.
I have spent this last month of 2019 traveling across the UK visiting some of the top breweries in the world, looking for inspiration for Feral’s future brews. The choice of beer in the UK is mind blowing and I would love South Africa to follow suit one day. However it is reassuring that SA’s best beers are up there with the UK’s, and at a fraction of the price.
We are delighted to have partnered up with Best Craft Beer this year. An online bottle shop bringing you some of the best beer SA has to offer. This partnership excites me as it’s headed up by Brendan from Frontier who is ensuring all the beer is cold stored to maintain freshness. This is extremely important to us and is one of the reasons we have worked exclusively with The Biggest Little Beer Shop for all our releases to date.
I also love that BLBS support exclusively craft brands and I was delighted to see them getting the recognition they deserved in the 2019 Brewmistress South African Beer Awards for Best Liquor store. In the same awards you guys voted us Best Newcomer and I want to thank everyone of you for that. Equally as exciting for me on a personal level was that Fools & Fans shared top spot with Clarens as Best Beerfest. For those who don’t know, I was involved in the organization of Fools this year, and continue to do so going forward. Fools is a very special festival to me, and we’ll continue to improve year on year and support the smaller craft breweries.
So in conclusion I’m left pondering what 2020 hold’s for Feral. Whilst the future is never certain, I can assure you I return to South Africa full of inspiration and a drive to make the modern beer styles that I love. To everyone that’s been a part of our journey this year I want to thank you and wish you all the best for 2020. Special thanks to Steve from Shackleton and Rochelle from ACBC without you guys this journey would not be possible.
Stay positive, support local, drink great beer, be kind and may 2020 be the best fucking year yet! I love you all, Mike