This unique event challenges university students from local tertiary institutions to show initiative and embrace beer culture through participation in a fun and challenging competition. Student teams have to brew 6 different beers and design an original label. The event takes place over 2 days and features presentations by student brew teams, tasting training, blind tasting by qualified judges, as well as technical presentations by influencers and experts in the craft and commercial brewing space. Participants representing 15 universities joined the event in Bloemfontein in 2022 and home team members could watch the activities live on our YouTube channel. The competition is open to all South African universities and aims to promote craft brewing and beer culture in South Africa under the umbrella of responsible drinking.
Where it all began
This event has a 20-year history that dates back to the first SAB-sponsored microbrewery installed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus in 2003. This partnership between academia and industry was driven by the now-retired SAB Senior Trade Brewer, Ben Lamaletie. The uniqueness of the initiative was for students to be educated and have fun at the same time while showing their skills in a national brewing competition. The first national Inter Varsity Beer Brewing Competition took place in August 2008 on the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus. After the ABInBev acquisition of SABMiller, the competition was in jeopardy of being discontinued in 2017, but with passionate support from SAB Trade Brewer Anton Erasmus and University team mentors, the competition was relocated to the Free State and became a joint venture between SAB and the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein. The event even survived the Covid-19 pandemic when student teams participated online in 2020. The competition was rebranded in 2022 as Intervarsitybrew: Brewing & Tasting Challenge and now includes support from the non-profit Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) and their partners SAB, Heineken and the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa (CBASA).
2023 marks the 16th consecutive competition
Intervarsitybrew article written by Lucy Corne, published in Jack Journal