The Tavern Tatler

News for the liquor trade

Increasing SA hops production

The AB InBev Hops Network workshop taking place in George – one of only four locations in the Southern Hemisphere where hops have been successfully cultivated since 1935 – aims to introduce the South African varieties to the AB InBev craft industry and innovation department. The global business combination of SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) is set to unlock South Africa's agricultural export potential by utilising unique South African hop varieties to become a net exporter by 2021.

The expansion plan means that South African-bred hop varieties would be increasingly used in beers around the world and particularly in craft beers, which although they account for just two percent of the world’s beers, use 20% of the hops produced.

Expansion plans for hops production, Gold standard fro SA beer and nutritional information on drinks - everything you need to know this season.

“We are bringing the brewing world to South Africa because of the huge potential of South African grown hops. These interesting and special hops are unique because these varieties cannot be grown anywhere else,” said Willy Buholzer, AB InBev Hops director. “We hope they will be equally as excited about the quality and potential of these locally-bred varieties as we are, and want to use them in their beers globally.”

AB InBev Africa’s agricultural development vision for South Africa is to increase hops produced by around 150 tonnes to 1 000 tonnes per year, of which more than 250 tonnes will be for the export market.

Most of the world’s hop production occurs in Europe and America, near the 48th parallel north. However, in George at 34 degrees South, hops breeders have bred specialist varieties that flourish with the warmer winter climate and shorter summer days. The South African Breweries Hops Farm (SABHF) hops breeding programme has successfully introduced six commercial varieties, with yields comparable to the rest of the world.

Windhoek Beer earns international stamp of approval for eleventh year running

Windhoek Beer variants Draught and Lager achieved international Gold standards at the 2017 Deutsche Landwirtschafts Gesellschaft (DLG) Quality Evaluation awards, while its Light variant earned a respectable Silver. The DLG is an experienced and credible global organisation, with a leading test centre that excels in the quality rating of agricultural and food sectors. Its annual awards are beacons to traders and consumers as to which brands meet the highest quality standards.

DLG describes and assesses all food applicants, of which beer is a subcategory, in four quality pillars:

  • Technologically sound and perfectly crafted food production (enjoyment value),
  • Product safety and dietary quality,
  • Truthful labelling and transparency of information for consumers,
  • Defined quality criteria throughout the production process.

Products which pass the four stringent requirements receive the “DLG Award Winner” awards in Bronze, Silver or Gold. On an annual basis more than 27 000 food category submissions from across the globe are analysed and reviewed by DLG’s panel of experts.

Pernod to make nutritional information available for all strategic brands

In a move it says is “unique on such a large scale in the industry,” Pernod Ricard will offer full nutritional information on its strategic brands by the end of 2017.

The French drinks giant has taken substantial steps to convey the nutritional content of its stock-keeping units (SKUs) to consumers, with 85% of such material already available online.

The content is typically accessed via smartphone with a QR code and details products’ calorific content, as well as the degree to which they contain fat, proteins, and carbohydrates.

"To improve consumer understanding and provide access to the most relevant information, content is expressed both per 10g unit of alcohol and by the quantity most common to each product type (e.g. 150 ml for Campo Viejo wine, 25 ml for Cognac Martell or Chivas whisky, etc.)," Pernod says.

"This adjustment allows a diversity of consumption patterns to be reflected and helps consumers make responsible choices."

Pernod added that the "initiative echoes the European Commission’s communication dated 13 March 2017 inviting industry producers to ensure appropriate nutritional information messages are displayed on all alcoholic beverages. More broadly, it is in line with the commitments taken in 2013 by Pernod Ricard and other leading global producers of beer, wine and spirits."

Radical approach needed?

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says a radical approach is needed to regulate South Africa’s liquor industry if the country is to effectively deal with alcohol abuse.

“We need to strive for a balance between the economic opportunities from liquor trade and the regulation of the industry. Unfortunately, the economic gains we get from the revenue that the government receives from the industry are far less than what it costs government to deal with the socio-economic consequences of alcohol abuse,” said Minister Davies in an address to the Eastern Cape Provincial Liquor Summit in East London.

He reiterated that alcohol abuse is costing the public sector a great deal as it is a major cause of road accidents and major causal factor in domestic violence and violent crime.

Minister Davies took delegates through the proposals that the Department of Trade and Industry has included in the National Liquor Amendment. These include increasing the legal drinking and purchase age from 18 to 21, restricting advertising, regulating trading hours, introducing liability for manufacturers and distributors, and intensifying education and awareness.

The summit was hosted by the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.