Beer: Brewing legend opts for working retirement

2008-11-28 00:00

Durban brewing legend Ben Lamaletie eats, sleeps and drinks beer.

The brew master is so passionate about beer culture that he continues to work at the South African Brewery Miller, even though he officially retired in October after working for the company for 40 years.

Mauritian-born Lamaletie joined SAB in 1968 when his family decided to relocate to South Africa.

Fresh out of university and having only worked 10 months in the sugar cane industry, Lamaletie took up a job offer at SAB.

“I was 23 when I joined the company and have never looked back. I had some amazing adventures during my time here,” he said.

Lamaletie worked in the microbiology unit for two years, and spent three years as trainee brewer before qualifying as a brewer in 1974.

In 1985, he was appointed brewing manager at the Prospecton Brewery and led the team to win three grand champion beers and five gold medals for “outstanding” beers distilled at the Durban brewery.

A highlight of his career was helping University of KwaZulu-Natal students set up a micro brewery and ultimately getting the micro brewing incorporated into the curriculum.

“I worked with many enthusiastic students who loved learning the art of brewing,” he said.

Lamaletie said South African beer is highly regarded worldwide because if its quality.

“We have certainly made our mark in the industry. We are known for the quality of our beer and have won many accolades for this,” he said.

While beer is important to Lamaletie, he said he firmly believes in getting “more people drinking less than less people drinking more”.

“SAB is very aware of moderate drinking. We have spent millions on educating people of the dangers of drinking beer in excess,” he said.

Even though Lamaletie has tasted hundreds of different beers from all over the world, he counts Castle Lager as his favourite.

“It’s a balanced beer. South Africa is a hot and dry place, so a Castle goes down like mother’s milk,” he said.

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