Established in 1983 in Knysna, Mitchell’s Brewery is the longest-standing independently owned South African brewery in the country. It is also the original craft beer producer in South Africa. With a team committed to producing the finest quality craft beer using only natural ingredients, Mitchell’s has introduced fresh packaging designs for its familiar beers, known for the authentically charming stories behind their names: Forester’s Lager, Bosun’s Pale Ale, Milk & Honey Ale, 90 Shilling Ale, Raven Stout, and Old Wobbly Strong Lager.
Hein Swart, managing director of Mitchell’s Brewery says the first beer he ever tasted was from Mitchell’s when he was on holiday in Knysna. This first taste started a passion which later led him to join South African Breweries and achieve the hard-earned status of SAB Master. ‘It’s given me the experience, knowledge and know-how to take a brand like Mitchell’s, who has a craft brewing history of more than thirty years and drive it forward commercially.
Apart from the brand-new packaging design, there has also been investment in optimising quality, consistency, and production processes at the sub-20 000hlpa brewery in the heart of Knysna. Filtration and pasteurisation capabilities have been implemented, and a fermentation tank farm extended with additional fermentation vessels to ensure reliable supply.
International brew-master, Jörg Finkeldey, who consults to the production team at Mitchell’s says, ‘The range continues to remain true to original ingredients, and we’re constantly refining processes to ensure the best brew across our entire range.’
The ability to source high-quality ingredients locally remains core to the Mitchell’s philosophy. ‘We’re in the prime Southern Cape agricultural region where hops are cultivated, so we have access to the finest raw ingredients on our doorstep. We only use 100 per cent natural ingredients, which are locally sourced, using original recipes and a unique brewing process, resulting in full-bodied, thirst quenching flavours for our discerning clientele,’ Finkeldey says.
With a permanent staff complement that has been at the brewery for the past 15 to 18 years, and nurtured in the skill of craft beer production. ‘Getting craft beer right is part-science and part art. It takes a high-level of commitment from everyone at the brewery, and we’re very fortunate to have such a long-standing and dedicated team of people involved from the local community.