Quaffing beer responsibly round the Cape

2011-04-09 00:00

SOUTH African Breweries (SAB) aims to be about providing entertainment through its various brands rather than making its consumers drunk. The organisation, which is the largest provider of beer in South African, is making it clear that people should not abuse alcohol­.

The company is currently giving away T-shirts and bags emblazoned with scary warnings such as: “Don’t let a criminal record weigh you down. Drink and drive and you will be caught.”

The company’s media relations manager Benedict Maaga explains.

“If people abuse alcohol and end up losing their jobs and source of income, this has a negative effect on our business. If people are killed in road accidents because of alcohol­ it costs us valuable clients.”

I met Maaga at the George Airport where I was part of a group of more than 20 journalists from around the country and SAB staffers. That was the beginning of a three-day journey through SAB’s beer manufacturing­ plants. It was the celebration of the Beer Heritage Tour 2011.

The aim of the trip was to show the processes of making beer from harvesting hops and storage, to barley processing to the actual brewing of the beer. I noticed that the process is similar to the way traditional beer is made, except for the final stage.

We also learnt how beer manufacturing started in the Cape of Good Hope around 1652.

Our first stop was to the SAB hop farms where SAB’s internationally acclaimed hop breeder Gerrie Brits explained the process of planting hops, which are used to provide bitterness and aroma in our favourite brands.

We then checked into the five-star Hyatt Regency Oubaai Resort and Spa, where after lunch, we were given spa treatment and enjoyed some golf.

In the evening we were bussed to Knysna where dinner and drinks at the Sirocco Bar and Restaurant were served. The following morning we boarded a flight to Cape Town.

The Mother City is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country, so I have heard many people­ say, but the SAB tour gave me first-hand experience.

The gigantic chain of mountains, which seems to shield the Mother City from the rest of the country, adds a unique identity to the city.

For the first time I saw the popular V&A Water Front, where we spent time cruising on a yacht, with two loaded cooler boxes.

I had hoped that the yacht would at least sail closer to the the historical Robben Island, but we did not have a permit to travel anywhere near it.

I did not even get to see the famous cable car that goes up Table Mountain because, I was told, it was on the other side from where we were.

I did get to see Gugulethu, Kha-yelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain.

The tour also gave me an hour-long aerial view of the Western Cape, which looks almost vacant, except for small pockets of town.

Unlike its neighbouring Eastern Cape province, it has no rural villages­. But I still hold my Kwa- Zulu­-Natal province high because of its green landscapes, and in comparison the Western Cape looks completely dry.

I hope to return to Cape Town soon because I did not have enough of it and I promise to consume my beers responsibly in future.

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