New brews catch tang of the waves in J-Bay

SURFERS’ ALE: The range of six beers from the brewery Picture: Supplied
SURFERS’ ALE: The range of six beers from the brewery
Picture: Supplied

It was only a matter of time before Jeffreys Bay’s world-famous waves were finally bottled.

Riding the craft beer wave that has been peeling through South Africa for the past few years, the newly established Jeffreys Bay Craft Brewery (JBay CB) is poised to make history – and “bru” synonymous with brew – when the company floods the regional market with beer “brewed for surfers, by surfers”.

Expected to be the largest craft brewery in the Eastern Cape when it opens its taps early next year, the unique attributes of a bevy of six brews to be launched simultaneously include that they will be named after the surfing mecca’s iconic surf breaks, the man after who Jeffreys Bay is named and an equally iconic legend John Whitmore – who pioneered surfing in South Africa.

The range includes lagers, ales and pilsners.

The “lineup” (surfer slang for those waiting in the queue for waves) is Supers, Albatross, Boneyards, Magnas, Captain Jeffreys and The Oom.

Brewery owner Bruce Tavenor, 60, said yesterday his project – in the making for more than a year – accounted for an investment of more than R12-million.

“We are setting up in the heart of the surfers’ village, so I believe we will be very well-placed, and we are setting up for the long term. “I want this brewery still to be going in 10 to 20 years, and I would like it to make a significant contribution to this town. “Initially, the idea is to produce 25% to 30% for the [J-Bay] market.

“The rest I hope to distribute as far as Port Alfred, maybe East London even, and [westward to] Plettenberg Bay or Knysna,” he said. Tavenor said he had designed the brewery and his premises – now nearing completion – to maximise the brewing volume and that after its establishment, the facility would be able to produce about 32 000 litres of beer a month.

“This is very exciting project. It is self-funded and basically a one-man-show, so it has taken some time and effort to get this far. “What we will have in the end is an iconic range of beer – crafted from the best recipes – for surfers made by surfers.

“The bottles and the beer will certainly be a keepsake for both the international and [South African] surfers who surf these breaks,” Tavenor said. He said the associated pub and eatery was also set to make a substantial contribution to Jeffreys Bay. “We should be ready in time for the winter surf season and the international competition and [after that] next December,” he said.

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