Winners of the 2017 Brewmistress South African Beer Awards

The winners of the possibly annual Brewmistress South African Beer Awards were announced last night in a beer-studded event at Afro Caribbean Brewing Company. Inspired by the people’s choice vote at the South African National Beer Trophy, I asked you, the beer loving public, to vote for all of your beery favourites. And you voted in your, well, dozens. Dozens! There were almost 300 votes, but I discarded quite a few due to their obvious bias – there were lots where someone had either voted for the same brewery in every category (yes, including best liquor store and biggest news) or had only voted in one category. The idea was to give a fairly rounded view of what the beer drinkers enjoyed this year, not to see who has the most loyal Facebook fans! In the end there were 213 valid votes. And here are the winners:

Best newcomer

There were two winners in this category so no second place. This was for a brewery that had emerged in the past year.

1st: Kennel Brewery/Metal Lane Brewery
3rd: Old Potter’s Brewhouse

Best Destination brewery

For a brewery with a great all-round offering including food, beer, atmosphere.

1st: Zebonkey Brewery
2nd: Devil’s Peak
3rd: Cape Brewing Company

Best Liquor store

Honourable mention has to go to the Tops chain, who received votes for individual stores around the country, though one branch stood out above the rest…

1st: Roeland Liquors, Cape Town
2nd: Biggest Little Beer Shop, Bellville
3rd: Hillcrest Tops, Hillcrest, KZN

Best bar/restaurant

This was the tightest race of any category and votes had to be recounted thrice – in the end there was just one vote in it… Beerhouse Fourways took the fourth spot.

1st: Banana Jam Cafe, Kenilworth
2nd: Beerhouse on Long, Cape Town
3rd: Capital Craft Beer Academy, Menlo Park

Best fest

Of all the categories, this was the one with the clearest winner, taking almost 50% of the votes. There was no third place as two fests tied for second, but honourable mention goes to Woodstock Winter Beer Festival – small, new and very popular.

1st: Cape Town Festival of Beer
2nd: Stellenbosch Beer Festival /Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Biggest beer news

Another landslide here, with brewery buyouts hogging the headlines in 2017.

1st: Heineken takeovers, or what one voter referred to as “Heineken’s recent shopping spree”.
2nd: Devil’s Peak, in general. So much news has come out of this brewery in 2017 (new premises, so many new beers, collabs, in-flight brews…) their spot on the top news list is well earned.
3rd: Hopgate

Lifetime achievement award

Thanks to the person who sent a vote my way (and it wasn’t even my mum!) and an honourable mention to Mitchell’s who just missed out on a spot in the top three.

1st: Wolfgang Koedel of CBC
2nd: JC Steyn of Devil’s Peak
3rd: Nottingham Road Brewing Company, who celebrate 21 years of brewing in 2017

Best Brewery

There was a very clear – and in my opinion highly deserving – winner in this category. It was also great to see one of the smaller producers in the top three.

1st: Devil’s Peak Brewing Company
2nd: Aegir Project
3rd: Cape Brewing Company

Best beer

I have to admit, I confused people a little with this category. I originally called it “The Black Label Award for Beer of The Year”, which was both a jibe at Black Label winning best beer at the SAN Beer Trophy and also a dig at the fact that SAB refers to it as the most awarded beer in Africa – or words to that effect, which I’ve always assumed refers to the Black Label Awards for the Best Black Label. Anyway, this confused people (much as this paragraph is, I imagine) and garnered responses like “not on your life”, “I don’t drink that shit”, “I still enjoy it” and “you can’t change mindsets overnight”. The majority did get though, that this was the category where you vote for the beer of the year, 2017. There were dozens of nominations – just showing what a vast range of great beers we have these days. We ended up with a five-way tie, which happily includes a Jo’burg beer alongside some Cape favourites:

Devil’s Peak Juicy Lucy
Devil’s Peak/Mikkeller Capenhagen
Devil’s Peak King’s Blockhouse IPA
Agar’s Tomahawk IPA
Fraser’s Folly/Beer Country Moerkoffie Stout

So congratulations to all the winners and big thanks to everyone who voted. All that’s left is to randomly choose winners of our lucky draw prizes, sponsored by Loxton Lager and Beerhouse Fourways.

Winner of the Beerhouse Beer O’clock tasting tray is Jaco – no surname supplied but I do have an email address for him and am assuming his surname is Roodt.

Winning the first Loxton Lager case (10 bottles of Loxton Lager and two branded glasses is Megan Gemmell.

And the second winner of a case of Loxton Lager, plus glasses is…Murray Slater (good job he didn’t win the Beerhouse prize – that would be awkward!).

Big thanks to Thandi Guilherme, AKA Craft Geek for designing a slider for the awards. To everyone else, merry Beermas, thanks for reading the blog…oh, and while we’re talking about voting, please consider throwing a vote my way in the 2017 SA Blog Awards. Thanks!


  1. Megan Gemmell

    Yay yay yay! Thanks so much Lucy and Loxton Lager ? Happy days.

    Those were all very worthy winners for the brewery awards, thank goodness no Black Label…

  2. jaco roodt

    i see my name?

    • Lucy Corne

      You do sir! I will put you in touch with Beerhouse to claim your prize – you re in Gauteng I believe?

  3. jan

    Wow, it took us a bit by surprise that we won the best destination brewery award in the whole of South Africa!
    Sorry that I could not make it to the meeting yesterday.
    Thanks to everyone, who voted for us.
    We plan for a party at the brewery on January 13th to celebrate that award.

  4. Randolf Jorberg

    Congratulations Greg for best bar and thanks for voting 2 of the 3 Beerhouses into the top5. The Jam will always be the original beer variety place, my Beerhouse will just make sure we got the brighter yellow!

  5. Megan Gemmell

    Hey hey! Who would I chat to about the Loxton prize?

    Thanks a mill.

    • Lucy Corne

      Whoops – will put you in touch with Stuart now!



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