Winners of the 2022 South African Beer Awards

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that when I posted the voting form for this year’s South African Beer Awards, I pledged to have the results published a day after voting closed, hangover permitting. Voting closed on 21 December. Let’s just say it’s been a good week…

There was a slightly lower voter turnout this year, which I largely attribute to my lack of blogging throughout 2022 (this despite my pledges to post more regularly) as well as a significantly lower number of shares from the industry compared to previous years. One great thing though was to see lots of new names on the voting forms alongside the familiar faces (well, names), as well as a bit more geographical diversity, including a number of Free State voters, some from towns I’ve never heard of, and even a few from Lesotho. 

Anyway, you don’t want to read my rambling thoughts. You want to read the results. So here they are:

Best Brewery

This one is all about the beer – a brewery that constantly pumps out quality beers all year. This year’s winner has a loyal Gauteng fanbase thanks in large part to the constant innovative releases under the Yeti Underground Movement brand.

WINNER: OC Brewery

2nd: Starke Brews

3rd: Devil’s Peak Beer Co. and Jack Black Beer

Honourable mention: Mad Giant, who missed a three-way tie with DP and JB by just one vote

Best Destination Brewery

This one is all about the experience – a place that of course serves excellent beer, but rounds out the package with great food and an awesome ambience. You clearly love this place – it has won for three years in a row…

WINNER: Aegir Project

2nd: Starke Brews

3rd: Afro Caribbean / Jack Black / Mad Giant

Best Liquor Store

Voters take into account the range of craft beers, the knowledge of staff and of course, how much of the beer is kept in the fridge…

WINNER: Liquor City Groenkloof

2nd: Tops at Spar Radiokop

3rd: Loco Liquor Blairgowrie

Honourable mention: Liquor City Claremont (missed the third spot by just one vote and came out top in the Cape)

Best Beer Bar/Restaurant

Another repeat winner here, taking the top spot for the third year in a row. In fact, the top three is identical to last year – perhaps there’s a gap in the market…?

WINNER: Capital Craft

2nd: Banana Jam Cafe

3rd: Den Anker

Best Beer Festival or Event

One of the things that pleased you most this year was the return of beer festivals, although about 10 per cent of all voters admitted to not attending a single one in 2022. If this was you, set yourself a goal to do better in 2023! This year’s winner is, rather surprisingly, featuring in the top three for the first time since the awards started in 2017.

WINNER: Capital Craft Craft Beer Festival

2nd: Fools & Fans

3rd: Clarens Craft Beer Festival

Best Beer Branding

This year’s winner will likely come as no great surprise, having taken the crown for the past four years (and featuring in the top three for five years).  Our second place and third place winners though are new entrants. And I’ll give a shout out to the solitary person that voted for Castle Lite…

WINNER: The Kennel Brewery

2nd: Afro Caribbean Brewing Co.

3rd: Mohope Premium Craft Beer

Best Homebrew Store

A new category for 2022 and the only category that was a non-essential field (I assume that you all drink beer, buy beer, visit breweries and restaurants and attend beer events, but realise not everyone brews their own – although you might want to consider setting yourself a new year goal…)

WINNER: Brewcraft 

2nd: BeerGuevara

3rd: Cactus Craft

Biggest beer story of the year

This is always a tricky category, but there were some great responses this year. Some involved big beer, like the Heineken takeover of Distell and the banning of Budweiser (and indeed all other alcoholic beverages) at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Some were good news – the launch of Hazeldean’s taproom and brewery, the opening of one of 2022’s only new breweries, Beerworks, and the launch of BASA’s Brew Routes Some were less cheerful, such as the closure of Drifter Brewing Co. and Stellenbosch Brewing Co. But the top story won by a sizable margin – and was very cheerful indeed.

WINNER: The end of lockdown and all the joy it brought, including “beer fests are back!”, “being able to go to pubs without masks”, and “allowing beer to flow freely”.

2nd: Soul Barrel winning Best Beer in Africa at the African Beer Cup

3rd: Jack Black’s 15th birthday celebration

Honourable mention: “Beer is Best”. It got one vote and didn’t really answer the question, but it’s very accurate.

Doc Brown Award for Outstanding Innovation

The winner here was a landslide, and understandably so since the brand’s entire premise is to continually innovate. It’s the second year in a row for them – and indeed for the other winners in this category. Shout out to the person that responded “No idea – I like beer but not to this level of detail” – you made me smile.

WINNER: Yeti Underground Movement 

2nd: Mad Giant for their Extra Fresh concept and Soul Barrel for their unique spontaneous ferments and commitment to using local ingredients

Honourable mention:  Afro Caribbean Brewing got a lot of love for their constant new releases.

Best New Beer

This is a tricky category to count up. Only beers released for the first time in 2022 were eligible for the win, so a lot of responses were discarded. The winner arguably isn’t a new beer, but the recipe and brewing process was new in 2022 so I have allowed (and anyway, if it had been disqualified, another beer from the same brewery would have been bumped up to the top three so it doesn’t really matter…)

WINNER: Jack & The Giant (Jack Black x Mad Giant)

2nd: Jozi Sunset (Mad Giant) / Yeti 12 (YUM)

Honourable mention: Jack Black’s Cherry Ale. And a shout out to ACBC, who got a fair few votes but all for different beers – the downside of releasing a new beer every second week!

Beer of the year

This doesn’t have to be a new beer – just one that is consistently good; the one you always have in your fridge perhaps; the one you miss when it’s not available, or just the one that wowed you above all others. Our winner clearly has a fine following – it remains on the top for the second year in a row.

WINNER: Mohope Premium Lager

2nd: Juicy Lucy (Devil’s Peak)

3rd: Jack & the Giant

Honourable mention: Tomahawk (Agar’s Brewery and Space Llama (ACBC) – proving that big IPAs are still well loved


As always, thanks for reading. Keep drinking great beer in 2023. Cheers.


Check out past award winners here:

2021   2020   2019   2018   2017



    Most underrated beer coming out of KZN. Stumpnose Brewery. Great variety, very smooth Stout!! East Coast Brewery with their periodical IPS deserves a big mention.


    Sorry meant to say East Coast Brewery Periodal IPA!!

    • Lucy Corne

      I’ll have to check it out in 2023!


    Sounds like a good idea. Try Stumpnose for the Stout. East Coast Brewery have Friday Evening and Sunday afternoon events.

    • Lucy Corne

      I’ve been to Stumpnose a couple of times – great spot. Never been able to coincide with East Coast’s weird opening hours! Do they package their beers?


    Unfortunately not. They only serve on site. It is their downfall as they make excellent beer!!

  5. Rheinholdt

    Great blog


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