Test your brewery knowledge

22 Sep 13

What’s the difference between a nanobrewery, microbrewery, a craft brewery, macrobrewery, and a brewpub?

South Africa has seen an explosion in microbrewery and craft beer interest over the past few years. As beer jargon gains traction in our lexicon, it can be quite confusing to navigate the brew scene without being equipped with some key definitions. Here’s our guide to brewery types.

Breweries in South Africa are often described by their production capacity or brew style. Sizes of breweries range from the smallest, the nanobrewery, to the largest, the macrobrewery. Beer styles can be traditional, which incorporates craft brewers, or non-traditional, which incorporates beer flavoured beverages and other concoctions.

The smallest scales of brewery, micro- and nanobreweries, are described by the South African Micro Brewers Association and Guild (SAMBRAG) as small and generally independent. They generally brew on a small scale for a local market.

Nanobreweries have an annual production of 150 000 litres of beer or less, and are 100% owned and/or controlled by the brewer. A homebrewer (perhaps yourself?) making beer in their garage could be classed as typical example of this

Microbreweries have an annual production of 1 500 000 litres of beer or less and are controlled 95% or more by the owner or brewer. This means that less than 5% of the brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member.

The term microbrewery has gradually come to reflect an alternative attitude or approach to brewing flexibility, adaptability, experimentation and approach. A microbrewery is not necessarily a craft brewery though.

Craft Breweries, also known as artisanal breweries, are nano- or microbreweries that favour a traditional approach to brewing, emphasizing flavour and quality. Some would argue that it’s more about an attitude or approach than it is about a specific definition.  Craft brewers often interpret traditional styles with new twists and may develop new style themselves, incorporating non-traditional ingredients and using traditional hand-operated technologies. Shongweni Brewery ,  is a good example of a microbrewery using craft techniques. This brewery makes a variety of handcrafted beers, including fruit beers made with local ingredients.

A macrobrewery brews on a large scale. SAB, utilises its seven macrobreweries, with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres, to produce its portfolio of beers for distribution across Southern Africa. It has taken over 115 years to reach this level of operations. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.

And finally, a Brewpub is a pub or restaurant that brews beer primarily for consumption on the premises. Gilroy’s ,  in Muldersdrift is an example of a local brewpub, combining an eatery with a craft experience.

Question ?

Nanobreweries have an annual production of 150 000 litres of beer or less, and are 100% owned and/or controlled by the brewer, true or false? Also, what is your favourite beer and why?

Let us know in the comments section below and stand a chance to win a Four Ball at the SAB World of Beer Golf Day taking place this Thursday, 26 September, at Jackal Creek Country Club, Honeydew.


Terms and Conditions
  1. This promotional competition (“competition”) is organised by The South African Breweries (Pty) Limited (“SAB”) (”the promoter”).
  2. The competition commences on 22 September 2013 and ends at midnight on 24 September 2013.
  3. All SAB fans will be entered provided that:
3.1.        you are a natural person over the age of 18; 3.2 you are in possession of your valid South African ID book or valid passport;
3.2.        your identification can be verified through a South African ID book or valid passport;
3.3.        you are not a director, member, partner, employee, agent or consultant to SAB or the participating supplier, or any marketing service provider in respect of the competition, or any other person who directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by the promoter or suppliers of goods or services in connection with this competition, or the spouse, life partner, parent, child, brother, sister, business partner or associate of such a person;
3.4.        it is not unlawful to supply the prize to you in terms of any legislation or public regulation and promoter reserves the right to require proof that it will not be unlawful to supply a prize.
3.5.        Your entry into the competition means that you agree and understand that you will stand a chance to win a Four Ball for the SAB World of Beer Golf Day being held on 26 September 2013 at Jakkals Creek.   This prize is valued at R2800.
3.6.    You will be entered into the draw when you comment on the blog post published on http://www.sab.co.za/ on 22 September 2013.
3.7.        There will be one winner.
3.8.        The winner will be selected from eligible entrants for the relevant period, within a week after the closing date of the competition. An independent third party will select the winner(s).
3.9.        Although we have taken care to make sure that the prize/s is/are of a good quality, we do not give any warranties about the prize/s and you agree to accept the prize/s "as is".
3.10.      Subject to applicable law, you also indemnify us against any damages that anyone may suffer as a result of the prize/s or this competition, including consequential and economic loss.
3.11.      The winner of the prize/s will be notified by cellphone within a week of the competition closing date.
3.12.      Once the winner has been contacted, their details will be published on the SAB Facebook and Twitter account and/or website.
3.13.      If SAB is unable to contact the winner among other reasons, because a winner’s contact number is repeatedly unavailable, engaged, just rings or goes to voicemail, SAB may in its discretion re-draw a new winner.
3.14.      The winner of the prize must collect their prize from a specified location, at a time arranged with the SAB representative.
3.15.      Any costs or expenses incurred in respect of items not specifically included in the prize/s are for the winner's own account.
  1. SAB and its co-promoter if applicable, will not be responsible for any other expenses which the winner may incur as a result of their acceptance and/ or use of a prize, whether foreseen or not.
  2. The prize is not transferable and may not be deferred, changed or exchanged for cash or any other item.
  3. To the extent that any taxes, duties, levies or other charges may be levied on a prize by the State or any other competent government or regulatory body, the winners will be liable therefore, and SAB will not increase the value of the prizes to compensate for such charges.
  4. Unless the winner refuses,
a. The winner/s name, and town/city will be published on the SAB Facebook, Twitter account/s and/or website and other media
b. SAB may also decide to publish the winner's image or require that the winner participates in any marketing activity.
  1. SAB reserves the right to vary, postpone, suspend, or cancel the competition and any prizes (which have not yet been subject to a draw), or any aspect thereof, without notice at any time, for any reason which SAB reasonably deems necessary.
  2. In the event of a dispute, the decision of the competition judges is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  3. If the winner/s fail/s to comply with any of these rules or the terms of acceptance of the prizes, or if the winner/s refuse(s) to sign the prize acceptance form, this will be construed as a rejection of the prize and then, without prejudice to any other remedy which SAB and its associates may have, the winner will be automatically disqualified and will forfeit the prize.