South African National Beer Day (‘#SANBeerDay’) is being celebrated on the 3rd of February. This is the eighth year that the first Saturday in February has been designated as an occasion to responsibly celebrate beer culture and the thousands of jobs that the beer industry supports in South Africa.
SA National Beer Day Events
South African National Beer Day takes the form of various events, promotions, educational sessions, pairings, specials and small festivals held by breweries and beer venues across the country. Those hosting events use www.beerday.co.za to log the details of their planned celebrations. Beer lovers and those interested in taking part in the day’s activities can find details of the events on an interactive map of South Africa available on the website.
“Last year we had almost 200 events. This year is shaping up to be as busy and already people can choose from beer pong tournaments to beer being paired with everything from biltong to blues music,” Lucy Corne, beer writer and founder of SAN Beer Day, says.
“You don’t have to attend a registered event to celebrate. A big part of South African National Beer Day sees people celebrating from home and sharing their festivities on social media. This year there is also an official SAN Beer Day mixed case of local beers you can order from Smous Online.”
Quinta Arendse, General Manager of the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), says the day has become an institution: “Beer is part of our heritage. Whether you lift a Castle or a Heineken or enjoy Umqombothi, you are part of a brewing history that goes back a very long way across cultures in South Africa. There is a lot of quality and character to be proud of in our beers.”
The South African beer industry’s cultural and economic significance is considerable. The industry sustains 1 in every 66 livelihoods in the country. R1 in every R79 of the country’s GDP is attributable to beer-related economic activity, which means the beer industry comprises roughly 1.3% of the country’s GDP.
The craft beer sector has been showing a recovery since four COVID-19 alcohol bans resulted in 30% of local breweries shutting their doors permanently and thousands of jobs were lost as a result. The breweries that managed to survive, have been largely focused on implementing recovery plans over the past two years, with a recent Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA) survey revealing that while there has been moderate growth, the sector remains under pressure.
Half of the brewers surveyed reported an increase in production year on year. However, in terms of industry outlook, only 36% had a positive sentiment about the future. Many sited stifling regulations, supply chain issues, and distribution challenges, exacerbated by high fuel and transportation costs, as primary concerns.
Widespread support for the craft beer industry was shown in November last year when a petition to gauge public sentiment on changing legislation to allow craft beer to be sold in grocery stores received more than 22 000 signatures.
Over the past few years the wider beer sector has experienced the growing popularity of low and no-alcohol beers, which also furthers the industry’s goals of moderation and considered drinking. It is also in this spirit that BASA invites all beer lovers to visit www.beerday.co.za and to support the local beer industry on the 3rd of February by celebrating South African National Beer Day with a beer!