Thursday the 26th saw the launch of a new African Pale Ale on the Cape Town beer scene - Garagista. The brainchild of marketer turned beer lover Steve Miller, he believes that craft beer has become a little like the premium wine industry, "up its own arse."
"I believe beer is a real democratic product," says Steve. "It's for real blue-collar people; overalls and butt cracks. Lately I've noticed it has become taking itself a bit too seriously so I wanted to design a product that cuts through the bullshit and is just really good beer."
Steve is an unrepetant petrolhead, and it was on a trip to the US to race cars that he took his love for beer to the next level and noticed a gap in the market for unpretentious craft beer.
"Kate Duwe from Amplicon PR put together our online ad campaign that pokes fun at ourselves and some of our customers," he says. The beer is based on the American Pale Ale style, but with the bitterness toned down slightly to cater more for the SA pallet. The result is a slightly fruity easy-drinking beer that is accessible to a wide target audience.
Steve Miller (right) with business partner
The idea behind the name is a nod to Steve's motoring passion. The story goes that back in the day when Britain was breaking into F1 racing, Enzo Ferrari disparagingly called the upstart UK Grand Prix teams 'garagista', or mere garage owners. Soon these innovative 'garagista' were rewriting the F1 history books. Steve and his team of beer makers relate to the use of technology to challenge the status quo; they've perfected a special steeping process to extract the maximum flavour and aroma, and use the patented SurePure light purification technology instead of pasteurisation to preserve the beer and deliver a premium taste.
According to Steve, he is not looking to extend distribution of Garagista beyond the Cape Town Metropol. He will mainly be selling directly from their venue at 139 Albert Rd, Woodstock, before perhaps supplying between 10 and 15 local venues in the near future.
One thing is for sure, their edgy and fun ad campaign is as refreshing as their beer, having garnered international attention. See the video below.