…Phew…Finally a chance to catch up since the launch of Swifty’s and our Pale Ale, Impi, at Fishermans’ all the way back on the 15th of October 2016.
Like all good stories this one starts years before in a kitchen far far away – here I would endlessly annoy my folks with my home-brewing pineapples, exploding ginger beer bottles or rancid watermelon. I always knew I would be a brewer.
In High School I was fortunate enough to enjoy 2 student exchanges to Germany – where you can drink beer at the tender age of 16 – and it was here that I developed my love for beer and the brewing of said goodness. However after school – instead of brewing – I studied and eventually entered the financial sector where this story might have ended behind a desk and a computer.
But like the dark lord Sauron I worked in secret…biding my time…
OK, not really, I did bide my time, but with my loving family and not an army of orcs by my side. I kept the fermenter in the garage where I would occasionally brew a batch of something, all the while developing my palate and my skills; moving from first using brew cans, then to real grains and hops until twenty years out of school I looked at my garage – boxes of empty bottles, shelves and shelves of different brews; pale ales, porters, milk stouts, attempts at Indian Pale Ale, Lagers, Pilsners, even apple cider and ginger beers each with a different coloured cap… Here I’d just like to say that I’m not obsessed with beer or beer brewing I’m merely very enthusiastic. However when I looked at my garage it was hard to explain this point of view to others – including my wife (Nicole).
To get me out of the house Nicole let me transform the garden shed into a home-pub for me and my friends to enjoy my home-brews…I called ‘my pub’ Swifty’s – after a swift pint – and for a long while mates would come over for a swift one in the garden at my place until like the house that too was too small. I had to expand. I had to sell my beer commercially.
But what to brew? I can’t make a German beer as good as a German and I can’t make an American Ale as good as an American, nor Belgians for Belgians…not yet anyway…and with so many established craft-brewers…I decided the only thing to do was brew a truly South African Beer. Impi, an African Pale Ale.
So I made a few contacts and took samples of Impi around to find a licensed brewer to brew and an outlet to sell. Luckily I found support locally in Morne, Glenn and the guys at Valley Breweries and I booked a run…and at Fishermans’ Pub and Grill where Hilary and Dave gave me the opportunity to launch.
And on the 15th of October 2016, Impi was officially launched at Fishermans’ Pub and Grill. With the help of social media (thanks Nicole!) and word of mouth we had a great turnout of locals and friends – with Andre Jordaan buying the first pint – and I can’t believe we sold about 75 litres on the day.
A special thanks to Hilary, Dave and Joseph at the Fishermans’ for without who I’d be sitting with thousands of litres of ale in my garage and a frustrated wife. A massive thank you to my friends, family and anyone else who has bought an Impi and supported my dream. Also a big thank you must go to all the staff at the Fishermans’ – for the support in marketing my beer to customers. Lastly I’d like to thank Morne and the guys at Valley Breweries for doing such a good job with the brewing, kegging and bottling.