Starting a brewery or distillery

As the publisher of The Beer Book and the Craft Map, many people assume I brew and sell my own beer.

I don’t brew and I am not employed as a rep to sell anyone’s beer. That does not mean that I don’t sell beer, I do. I sell lots of beer. I sell it via my marketing activities the storytelling on social media, my websites and my publications, such as The Beer Book and my blog.

 I do also spend a lot of time advising retailers on craft beer and spirits.  If you are a brewer, help me sell more of your beer, by joining my industry network on

Back to brewing… Brewing beer, distilling gin, or making other drinks products seems like a lucrative business. It can be lucrative and you too could be brewing your own beer.

How do you start? Rule #1: Start small. I have heard of a bunch of friends, who after a night of heavy drinking, went online and ordered a brewery from China. (I know you would never do that!)

Rule #2: Join a homebrewing club. Learn how to brew small batches of beer. Here are a few links to some of the homebrew clubs I know: Worthogs Homebrew Club, Free State Fermenters, Durban Homebrewers, East Coast Brewers, SouthYeasters Homebrewers Club, Helderberg Homebrewers Club and Barrington’s Beer Club.

Rule #3: Visit your local home brewing shopsBrew Craft in Jet Park and Pretoria, BeerBros in Hillcrest and BeerGuevara in Cape Town, are my favourites.

Do research, then… do more research. This is the best part. Do research by visiting, preferably all the breweries in South Africa. Once you get to this stage (or you could just jump to this stage), get a copy of The Beer Book and The Craft Map to show you where all the breweries are located. Take your copy of The Beer Book along and you will get to claim a free taster or beer at nearly 90 different breweries.

Go big or go home. There are a number of brewing equipment suppliers in South Africa.

RBC Equipment is one of the leading manufacturers of bottling filler/cappers, labelers in South Africa. Read more: 

Toscana Enologica Mori imports Spadoni breweries and tanks, Toscana Inox breweries, Ghidi Metalli tanks, Supermonte kegs, Celli dispensers, Comac keg filling, sterilising and bottling lines, Borelli bottling lines. TEM offers full after sales service. Read more:

EJSM specialises in the manufacturing of custom made stainless and mild steel tanks and pressure vessels for the brewing industry. Read more:

Erben Packaging supplies all kinds of interesting packaging goodies. Starting your own brand of beer or spirits, give them a call. They import premium Glass bottles & jars, plain & printed crowns, bar stoppers, screwcaps, 5L beer kegs, non-slip trays, tin, polylaminate & pvc capsules, shellac wax , swing stoppers, ceramic bottles, beer bottles, filling & capping equipment & wax application machines. Read more:

Join a group. I know that there’s no shortage of online business and brewing groups you can join, but there is an online Community that brings together all my contacts and knowledge gained over the last 23 years.  I have been in the beer business since 1994 and I personally knows all brewers, suppliers, distributors and the top retailers. To get access to this valuable resource, join me at

Still researching?  Join me on the Ale Trail.  The Ale Trail takes us to the best breweries and retailers in South Africa. The group aims to promote beer culture and the business of beer.Getting technical? For more information on brewing, contract brewing, dispensing equipment, brewing supplies join Holger’s online community Craft Brewing And Distilling Equipment & Brewing Services. – Membership of this group is free provided you have purchased a copy of The Beer Book.


There are many podcasts about beer and brewing. To start feel free to subscribe to my podcast where I interview some of our local craft brewers and distillers:

2 thoughts on “Starting a brewery or distillery

  1. Rodney says:

    Good day I would like to get into brewing, but have no idea where to start. Please help Thanks Rodney

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