How to start a microbrewery in South Africa

How to start a microbrewery in South Africa

A microbrewery is a very great and fulfilling way to make a living. South Africa needs more microbreweries. This is a guide on how to start a microbrewery in South Africa.

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A microbrewery is very profitable and a fun business to have, it is one that is usually passed down to the next generation because of the passion and love that the owners have for it. South Africans love alcohol and most are always willing to try out something new. There are not that many microbreweries in South Africa.

The barriers to entry are a bit high, starting a microbrewery is going to cost a lot, rent, equipment and licenses make up the majority of this cost. This guide assumes that you already know how to brew alcohol and are looking for a way to turn it into a business, if you don’t then get some experience by volunteering to work at a microbrewery.

Choose the right location

The location of your microbrewery will be very important, you want to make sure that it’s situated in an area that receives a lot of foot traffic. Ideally, it should be in a city or a small town that attracts a lot of tourists.

A microbrewery in a poor small town will not really make a lot of money. The town has to attract a lot of tourists, this is because tourists are more likely to spend money in order to get a taste of local experiences.

Cities have so many people that there will inevitably be people who are just interested to check out your microbrewery. You will likely serve new faces everyday and a few regular ones. However, this is if you want to sell directly to your customers, which is what we recommend. Another option is brewing the beer then selling it to third parties through distributors.

Don’t lease operating premises that are directly in the city centre, rather situate your business in the outskirts. You are going to pay way more for rent when leasing in the city centre.

Set up operating premises

This is the tricky part; your operating premises should include both a brewery and also be some sort of restaurant. You can’t neglect selling food in your microbrewery, this will make people to stick around for longer and will buy more beer.

This is something that even the most stubborn of people realize at some point, a lot of your customers will ask if you are not selling any food. The food doesn’t have to be anything serious; you can sell burgers as a starting point. It sucks to be at a great microbrewery then leaving because you are hungry.

Make sure that lack of food will not be the reason why some people leave your microbrewery or why others will not return. The aim is to create an environment that will allow people to enjoy your passionately crafted beer. Your microbrewery should be a great place to be in.

This will cost a lot, you have to renovate the premises to fit the look and feel of a microbrewery, you might lease premises that were formerly used as a furniture shop. Renovations will cost a lot of money; this will include tearing down some walls and remaking the premises as a whole.

Register your business

There is a lot of registering and licensing that you need to do for this business, you first have to make sure that it is a registered company, apply for a liquor license and apply for a food license. You may also need to deal with the zoning laws. The food license is formally known as the certificate of acceptability and can be obtained from the department of health.

Registering a company only costs R125, the licenses that will be expensive are the other ones. Your operating premises should be all set at this point because they first assess your premises before giving you a liquor license.

Get a liability insurance

You need to have insurance; someone can get food poisoning due to the negligence of one of your staff members. This can result in a dragged-out legal battle that might bankrupt your business. It’s best to have a liability insurance to give you cover. You might also want to get cover that protects your business from theft and natural disasters.

Market your microbrewery

A microbrewery in a good location will market itself, you don’t have to worry much about marketing. You can increase awareness by having a grand opening day, you have to go out to give your customers the best experience.

They will surely return if they had a good experience in your place and will bring other people along. Influencer marketing works surprisingly well too, you don’t know how valuable social media attention is for this type of business. People can come flocking to your place because other people promoted it on social media.


This was a guide on how to start a microbrewery business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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