Brendan Watcham, the man behind Copper Lake Breweries, has an abiding love of beer and has been brewing his own beer for two years. During this time he has regularly hosted informal gatherings and brew tastings for friends.
He won the 2010 Worthogs Best Four Beers league tasting award. Worthogs is an eagerly attended Home Brewing Club and winning the competition says something about the quality and taste of the winner’s beer.
Brendan believes that theory must back enthusiasm and is currently studying a diploma in brewing. He has taken and passed his first year IBD (International Brewing and Distilling) exams.
And so for Brendan, starting and running his own licensed brewery was inevitable.
Says Brendan: “Getting the license has been a long, drawn-out process, and is still not 100% finalised. It shouldn't take too much longer and we look forward to making our brew available to beer lovers by the end of February 2011. We have a range of beers that are quite different to what most South Africans are used to drinking. In fact, we have some delightful surprises in store . . . Home brewing gives us the wonderful opportunity to show South African beer lovers that there is so much more to beer than bland fizzy lagers. There is a beer for every season, for every occasion and for every meal!”
Brendan is excited about the future of micro-brewing in South Africa. “This ancient and appreciated art is still in its infancy in South Africa. In this country we tend to follow trends that are well established in Europe, the USA and Australia. If these international trends are anything to go by, then micro-brewing is about to explode in South Africa. It’s interesting to see that in the last two years there has been no growth in the beer sales of the large breweries sales; but microbreweries here have shown a consistent growth each year of about 10 %. Somehow this tells me there is a change in the mind of discerning beer lovers.”
Brendan is enthusiastic about this emerging craft. “Equipment, material, help and clubs have all recently become more available to the home brewer. We can now exchange ideas and tips on all beer-making matters. New ideas and and new beers are born – everyone wants to brew the perfect beer. Beer is the reason we all get out of bed every afternoon.”
“The next time you buy beer, support a small brewery and try something different. After all, variety is the spice of life. You will be pleasantly surprised as we save South Africans, one pint at a time.”