Millers and millennials

Many millennials (those born around the turn of this century) swoon for ideas like “authentic”, “vintage” and “classic”. Miller Lite has stumbled upon a way to appeal to that market – and their parents.

To coincide with the 2013 release of the film Anchorman 2, which it sponsored, Miller Lite released a limited edition can with its original logo dating back to the 1970s – the time in which the film was set.

However, the popularity of the new design far exceeded expectations for a little film-related novelty, sales increased markedly, and Miller decided to keep its new “old” logo.

It might seem odd that a logo so old would do so well in a completely different social climate, but a brief look at the trend in logo design shows that although the logo is old, it’s no longer dated.

As always, many trends run concurrently, but the one type of logo that is growing in popularity, probably thanks to the aforementioned millennials, is the vintage style logo, exemplified by a few key features:

  • Hand lettering
  • Vintage flourish
  • Vintage typeset feel
  • Logo patch/badge

(See mayecreate and creative bloq.)

The old Miller logo has a vintage typeset feel, a prominent oval patch beneath the iconic “Lite”, vintage flourishes around the badge, and most importantly, genuine vintage credentials.

Some have speculated that while the younger generation is attracted to the design because it looks iconic, the older generation is attracted to the design because for them it is iconic.

In the days when the logo first appeared, Miller Lite was the number one best-selling light beer in the US, and it was the first light beer to be successfully marketed to men. The parents of millennials may be buying the beer for nostalgia’s sake.

Either way, in a time when craft beers are taking over a fair share of the beer market, focussing on the roots of a brand and emphasising its authentically vintage age might be a way to compete with these whippersnappers.

The 2015 SAB League National Championships draw announced

The South African Breweries is proudly committed to football development – so what better place to announce the 2015 SAB League National Championships draw than the SAB World of Beer?

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Officials of the South African Breweries, the South African Football Association (SAFA) and members of the press gathered at the SAB World of Beer yesterday for the official draw launch event.

The SAB World of Beer was a perfect fit for the draw, according to general manager Tony Rubin: “Our venues lend themselves so well to events of this nature. The Auditorium and the Steam in the Gallery with the garden outside, which I call “the oasis of Newtown”, affords people the opportunity to spill out and enjoy drinks and have lunch after the formal proceedings, and to enjoy the views.”

On SAB’s 15-year commitment to SAFA and the country’s football development, SABMiller Africa environmental manager Muzi Chonco said: “It was important for us to look for someone to lead us, especially in the area of grassroots development, and SAFA was the obvious choice. We’ve extended the partnership to five more years. We are family and the idea is to stand together.”

SAFA Competitions Committee chairperson Nomsa Mahlangu said about the SAB partnership: “For SAFA, this partnership means a lot. Without SAB, we can’t achieve what we exist to do in terms of football and the nation’s development.”

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The groups were drawn as follows:

  • Group A: Northern Cape, Gauteng, Free State (defending champions), Mpumalanga and Western Cape
  • Group B: Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, University Sports South Africa (USSA) and Eastern Cape

The SAB League National Championships will kick off on 28 June at the Giant Stadium in Pretoria. The final match is on 5 July.

See more of pictures of the event on our Facebook page

Innovation, sustainability and efficiency in beer making

Four basic ingredients go into creating beer: barley, hops, yeast and water.

South African Breweries (SAB) has adopted a sustainable approach to acquiring and using these raw materials and continues to look at ways of improving upon current measures. A study done by SAB, the World Wide Fund for Nature, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit found that more than 80% of water required in the beer-making process is used in the production of raw materials, namely barley and hops.

Mindful of water being a precious commodity, SAB has adopted a water-saving strategy that is aimed at making more beer using less water.

SAB always strives to ensure that water resources are secured jointly for local communities and for the brewing business. Water is conserved where possible, used optimally and recycled when the opportunity arises.

Water-saving measures aimed to see water usage cut by 25% per hectolitre of beer between 2008 and 2015.  To manage water usage more effectively, three projects have been put in place: the Strategic Water Partners’ Network, Innovating Through Irrigation, and Project Eden – Promoting Water Research.  

SAB has also developed, in partnership with the University of the Free State, an innovative, scientific alternative to barley irrigation that aims to reduce the total water footprint of the crop. The Precision Irrigation Programme is being run in the Northern Cape region of Douglas.

Precision Irrigation is a water-scheduling computer programme that calculates the amount of water required to produce optimum crop yields in different soil types.

Within its first year of operation, the programme had realised a 48%, or 19.2-million hectolitre, water saving. Since then the project has been extended from its pilot status to be applied across 12 822ha of land in the province. This move, in turn, has financially benefited 100 small-scale and 180 commercial barley farmers in the Northern Cape region due to reduced irrigation costs and lower production costs, which speaks to SAB’s collaborative approach to working with its suppliers.

SAB’s hop farms have been developing and growing hops in South Africa for more than 80 years, under disease-free conditions. As a result several local varietals have emerged with qualities better suited to local climates.

International brewers have shown particular interest in local hop availability as a potential supplement during the northern hemisphere off-season. In terms of SAB’s innovative approach to local hop production, the female hop plant is used in the brewing process while the male is used to cross disease-resistant varieties with locally adapted breeding stock.

Some of the hop varietals used by SAB include: Southern Brewer – developed in the 1970s; Southern Promise – a dual-purpose hop with a woody, earthy fragrance; Southern Dawn – a more aromatic version of Southern Promise; Southern Aroma – with a floral and herbal nose; Southern Passion – a flavoursome blend of passion fruit, red berries and sweet fruits; and African Queen, launched in May 2015 following 12 years in development.

Barley, which is malted, is an important raw material used in the making of beer. In June 2015 SAB announced a R700-million investment in a new maltings plant in Alrode, Gauteng, to support the local economy and drive job creation.

Construction of the new plant, which will produce 130 000 tonnes of malted barley per annum on completion, has commenced. The expansion will allow SAB to reduce the amount of malted barley it imports, and to grow the local agricultural sector by supporting private, previously disadvantaged farmers.

“The new maltings plant will have significant cost-saving and growth benefits for SAB. It makes good financial sense to undertake this investment. It will allow us to reduce our exposure to volatile international markets and to replace a significant share of our imported malt and barley with local barley,” says SAB MD Mauricio Leyva.

At the moment, SAB sources around 65% of its barley from within South Africa. Once the new maltings plant is operational, this will increase to more than 90%.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, SAB aims to continue working together with local communities, suppliers, governments, consumers and beyond, to develop shared opportunities that will benefit everyone. 

Castle Lager launches music video in celebration of 120 years

It’s been around for years, as far back as you can remember, as far back as your parents can remember. A lifetime. Several lifetimes. It’s become synonymous with sunshine and sport and South Africa. It’s Castle Lager and after 120 years, it really is the taste that's stood the test of time.

On Thursday, 1 October 2015, as part of its 120th birthday celebrations, Castle Lager launched the music video of Bring Us Together, a powerful collaboration between two of South Africa's biggest musical acts, rock band Prime Circle and rapper PRO.

“2015 is Castle Lager’s 120th birthday," said Nic Scheijde, Castle Lager's general manager, "and as part of the celebration Castle wanted to produce a commemoration track in honour of this amazing milestone. We approached two of South Africa best performing and well known artists – Ross from Prime Circle and PRO. Both come from different backgrounds and both are famous for different reasons – Ross for rock and PRO for rap.

"The intention was to highlight how the two could come together to produce something special, just as Castle has brought South Africans together over the past 120 years to create our own special moments. The outcome was the track and the music video we are launching tonight at the SAB World of Beer, a venue tailor-made for the launch given that the World of Beer also represents 120 years of good beer, good friends and good times."

The song, says Castle Lager marketing manager Angelique Kuiper, "symbolises a new way of doing things as unites different people and transcends different barriers. We chose two artists that have stood the test of time, Prime Circle and PRO, to work on creating a unique song that is very different to something that's been done before. The two genres of music, rock and hip hop, have come together in a very unique way."

Approximately 80 members of the press were invited to the launch of the music video, which was directed by Gavin Davis from MadHouse Concepts and features Prime Circle and PRO performing the song while live performance artist John Adams creates a mural behind in the background.  

"We love beer – let's just put it that way first," said Ross Learmonth, Prime Circle's frontman. "So when we were called by the coolest brand in South Africa to do a decent collaboration, we were very happy.

"It's great to be at the World of Beer," he added. "My father would be proud of me – he loves beer."

The music video will soon be released on MTV. Until then, the video below offers a look behind the scenes.

SAB World of Beer now serving Carling Blue Label Beer

Step into the SAB World of Beer Tap Room and you're likely to find a new premium beer in our fridges: Carling Blue Label Beer.

A recent addition to the SAB offering, Carling Blue Label Beer is, uniquely, a single-malt beer. This means that it is made from a select single variety of malted barley, giving it a bold Carling taste. The resulting flavour is rich and malty, the aroma subtle yet complex and the finish satisfyingly smooth. This new addition joins the Carling family, which has until now been proudly represented by Carling Black Label, South Africa’s most internationally awarded beer, with more than 30 international awards to its name.

When asking brewmaster Danie Odendaal what makes Carling Blue Label Beer different, he said: “The normal blended barley malt varieties that are used in other beers are not used in this beer. This malt is specially selected and cultivated and is stored separately from other blended malts to ensure its single-variety integrity when used in Carling Blue Label Beer.”

The move to create this exceptional beer, says Carling’s general manager Vijay Govindsamy, was taken after Carling became certain that they could deliver an exceptional product that would be both distinctive and yet retain the qualities of the country’s most globally awarded beer.

“This beer is brewed for those who are unafraid of doing things first, and who are bold enough to try new experiences. Those who learn, explore the world and create new things,” says Govindsamy.

Does this sound like you? Then step in and sample this bold new beer with a refreshing taste in our Tap Room today.

World Cup glory for MillerCoors and Meantime

MillerCoors is celebrating a quadruple success at the 2016 World Beer Cup – with Meantime Brewing Company also scooping a medal in the event known as the "Olympics of beer".

The latest edition of the World Beer Cup received 6 596 entries from 55 countries, a new record high that smashed the previous entry figure of 4 754 from the 2014 event.

So many entries generated extremely tough competition across all 96 beer style categories, including three in which MillerCoors brands tasted success. In the light lager category, Miller Lite won the gold medal, while Miller High Life was awarded the silver medal in the class dedicated to American-style lagers.

In addition, Blue Moon First Peach Ale received the gold medal in the fruit wheat beer category, with Meantime Brewing Company’s Raspberry Wheat Beer taking bronze in a remarkable Anglo-US double success for brands in the SABMiller family. First Peach Ale is a recent addition to the Blue Moon family; it is a Belgian-inspired brown ale with a slightly tart peach note balanced with caramel malts.

Perhaps more impressive still was MillerCoors’ triumph in the Champion Brewery and Brewer Awards, which marked the culmination of the 2016 World Beer Cup. The winners here are determined from performances in the individual beer categories, and thus represent something of a brewing "hall of fame".

Our Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company team was declared Champion Brewery and Brewmaster in the large brewing company category. This is the third time the Miller brewing team has received this award, after successes in both 2004 and 2006. It also keeps the prize in the MillerCoors family, following the 2014 success of Golden Brewery in Colorado.

"We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the most competitive World Beer Cup to date. Day in and day out we work hard to brew the highest quality beer possible. That commitment starts in the barley field and extends to each of our passionate and committed brewery workers. To win three awards plus champion brewery and brewmaster is a testament to their passion, commitment and dedication," said Warren Quilliam, senior director of brewing and malting for MillerCoors.

About the World Beer Cup

The biennial World Beer Cup is the brainchild of the US-based Brewers Association (BA). It was founded in 1996 to celebrate the art and science that goes into making great beer, and since then has grown exponentially in scale and industry prominence.

It is fondly referred to as the "Olympics of beer" and, in true Olympian spirit, it pitches the giants of the brewing industry alongside smaller producers, such as microbreweries and brewpubs. The top performers are duly awarded Olympic-style gold, silver and bronze medals.

“Brewing has no boundaries or borders,” said Charlie Papazian, BA founder. “The World Beer Cup recognises the very best in the global community of brewers – their innovation, creativity and the craft of beer and brewing.”

* This blog was first published by SABMiller 

Judging the Olympics ... of beer

More than 220 judges recently descended on Philadelphia with one aim – to taste, judge and award the very best beers in the world. I was lucky enough to be one of six judges from SABMiller to be invited along to participate in the 2016 World Beer Cup – the "Olympics" of beer competitions.

As I explained in my last blog, beer judging is great fun, but it’s hard work too. I wanted to share my experience of the event, to give an insight into the tough, yet enjoyable, world of beer judging.

The World Beer Cup is a prestigious event, bringing together the very best brewers, beers, and beer judges from around the world.

Held every two years, and hosted by the Brewers Association in the USA, 6 600 beers across 96 categories are submitted from more than 50 countries, with successful brews being placed as bronze, silver or gold winners in each style category.

Judges come from all over the world, and from different walks of life, albeit all beer-related. Brewers of all sizes, beer flavour experts and scientists, beer writers, historians and zythologists, and even a self-proclaimed "beer activist" were all invited to judge.

Now the first day of judging was actually quite ordinary; deciding whether the beer was true to style for its category, as well as technically well brewed, were key concerns.

As we moved into the second day, the categories got gradually more interesting. But by day three the true skill of judging came to the fore, as we needed to judge the beers on what was really good about them, rather than discount them for technical shortcomings.

As well as being the most interesting, the third day was also the hardest with sharp, sour beers to start, followed by barley wines (usually between 8-12% ABV) and then three sessions of tasting Belgian-style pale strong ales (similar to Duvel). There were some pretty heavy, but really excellent beers in there.

To be honest, it was quite a relief to finish three tough days of judging, and I looked forward to enjoying some fresh, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell with the rest of the SABMiller judges, including Vaclav Berka, Pilsner Urquell’s brewmaster.

The World Beer Cup captures the vast and wide selection of beers, from light American-style lager through to wild-fermented sour beers, and everything in between. Some styles may be challenging to certain palates, but the key thing is that the choice and variety is there if you go looking.

In my years of judging at the event, the trend of ever-increasing bitterness seems to have slowed somewhat, with more interest in hop aroma, as well as sour and barrel-aged beers. However, traditional beer styles still remain popular favourites; it seems that craft is not the only answer to increasing interest in the beer category.

And the best beer I tried? Too difficult to call, but anything on this list would definitely be worth a try, if you can get your hands on it.

* This blog was first publiched by SABMiller

Brewers go head to head at SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge

On 10 September, for the ninth year in a row, SAB hosted its Annual SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge at the SAB Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning in Kyalami.

The challenge forms part of SAB’s efforts to assist universities in developing microbreweries that serve as valuable teaching aids for students involved in microbiology, chemical technology and engineering programmes.

Each year, students from universities around the country brew, ferment, condition and package their beers, before presenting these to a panel of independent and accredited craft beer tasters at the Beer Brewing Challenge. The challenge aims to encourage responsible beer appreciation among students and to introduce prospective SAB employees to the business. In addition to this, SAB uses the initiative to help create a culture of beer in South Africa.

The competition comprises 15 universities, all of which did their utmost to outdo the defending champions, the University of Cape Town, which claimed last year’s top spot with its Munich Dunkel.

The competing universities in 2016 included:

  1. University of Limpopo
  2. University of Potchefstroom
  3. University of Stellenbosch
  4. Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  5. University of KZN Westville Campus
  6. University of Cape Town
  7. Pretoria University
  8. University of KZN Pietermaritzburg
  9. Central University of Technology Free State
  10. Rhodes University
  11. University of Johannesburg
  12. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  13. University of Witwatersrand 
  14. University of South African (UNISA)  
  15. 1000 Hills Chef School 

According to Petr Vesely, SAB’s chief brewer, “South Africa’s innovative and energetic tertiary student fraternity has an important part to play in our drive to build a strong culture and passion for beer in our country as there has been established in other parts of the world. It is in the halls of these institutions, where experimentation is key to academic success, that the foundation of a strong industry can be developed.

“Providing students with the expert knowledge and skills in beer brewing by means of the SAB Intervarsity Brewing Challenge, will ensure that quality is never compromised and that South African craft beer products compete with the very best in the world.”

Students’ products were judged according to the following categories: best brew, best lager, best cider, best speciality beer, best pilsener light, best winter warmer, best label design and the best spirit.

Each category, which carried a prize of between R10 000 and R25 000, was sponsored by a world-renowned SAB brand. And the winners were …

  • Castle best bru (overall winner): University of Cape Town (Don’t Dunkel with my Heart)
  • Carling Black Label best lager: University of Cape Town (Dunkel Breaking My Heart)
  • Redds best cider: University of Cape Town (Ceres Harvest Cider)
  • No. 3 Fransen Street best speciality beer: University of KZN Pietermaritzburg (Southmalle Trappist Single)
  • Hansa Pilsner best pilsener light: 1000 Hills Chef School
  • Castle Milk Stout winter warmer: University of Cape Town (Double Agent)
  • Best label design: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • The SAB World of Beer spirit award: Central University of Technology Free State

The University of Cape Town maintained the top spot with its Dunkel Breaking My Heart. The team’s winning brew was noted by judges as having a “simple style with a clean lager flavour and the correct balance of hops. They used good brewing procedures for a style that requires precision in brewing technique.”

Congratulations to everyone who worked tirelessly to produce the very best that student beer-making has to offer. Cheers!

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