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Old Harbour Lager beer gets gold

For a second time in a row Hermanus Brewery won and walked away with a gold medal for their local Old Harbour Lager beer.

The 4th Annual South African National Beer Trophy awards were held on Wednesday 29 August at Beerhouse in Long Street, Cape Town.

Locals James and Di Rattle, founders of the brewery, moved from Cape Town to Hermanus eight years ago to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

They have been in the craft beer making industry for four years. It was yet another humbling experience for them to walk away with the prize this year.

Consistency and originality has been the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy since it was founded.

“The way we won the first time and how everything fell into place was completely unexpected,” explained Di.

“I was informed by my husband that there will be a beer competition taking place in Cape Town – not knowing that it was no ordinary small competition – and we decided to drop off a case of beer on the way as we were doing our deliveries.”

A few weeks later they received a call to attend the prize giving, and to their surprise, they won.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity and the achievement.”

The South African National Beer Trophy is the largest beer tasting competition in Africa to date with 212 entries and more than 20 judges.

The panel consists of highly skilled judges, sommeliers, celebrity chefs and cicerones (hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving beers).

A record of 212 beers were submitted to the competition.

The Rattles seized the opportunity and gap in the market to produce a craft beer which Hermanus residents can be proud to call their very own.

“It is seen as such a proud moment for the residents to be able to consume beer which is made in their home town,” explained James.

Starting this business they had to hit the ground running and from the get go they could not keep up with all the orders.

Head brewer Richard Hammond has been part of the company since day one and he is proud of being part of such an excellent team.

“We do everything together and we are truly a family,” said Hammond.

The second time they entered the pressure was on but different as they came prepared.

“The whole craft beer movement has been huge overseas and South Africans have been importing beers to experience different tastes. It then dawned on us, why import beer when you can brew craft beer right here at home?”

The brewery has the capacity to make 14 thousand liters of lager a month and it gets distributed across the Overberg.

The bottles are hand labelled which gives the product a craft appearance.

The future plan of the intrepid duo is to expand the range and brew a variety of beers.

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