You’ve probably heard the news, but if you haven’t, Stellebrau have done a deal with Heineken and become a part of “the Heineken family”.
The reason for the vagueness of this blog post title is that at this stage nobody seems to know whether the world’s second largest brewer has bought Stellenbrau out completely or whether they have just bought a stake in the company. I have contacted both Stellebrau and Heineken and am waiting for comment. The full story will hopefully be in the next issue of On Tap.
Rumours of the deal have been doing the rounds for the past month, but Stellenbrau quietly announced the news on their website last Thursday, March 23. It is perhaps not a huge surprise though, considering Stellenbrau’s links with Namibia Breweries (some of their beers are brewed by the Windhoek brewer) and NBL’s ties with Heineken. I won’t rehash the press release and the comments made by the various players – you can head over here to read that.
Fellow craft beer enthusiasts will probably find the last paragraph of the press release a little odd – a list of qualities that apparently distinguishes Stellenbrau from other craft beer players in SA, including that their beers are more easy-drinking and lack that typical craft aftertaste. (Flavour?? 😉 )
As I get more info I will pass it on. But in the mean time, what are your thoughts on this deal? Good on Stellenbrau for making some money? Will you continue drinking Stellenbrau’s beers? If they use the same recipes and ingredients but are owned by a megabrewery, do you still class them as craft?