Then and now: Newlands Brewery

Category News

Dating back to 1820, Newlands Brewery is the oldest operating brewery in Africa. It neighbours the historic Newlands rugby and cricket grounds and produces some of the best-selling South African beer.

Newlands Brewery offers guided tours so that beer lovers and aspiring brewmasters can get an inside glimpse of modern-day brewing methods. The tour follows the process of making beer, from the grains at the start to the refreshing and well-crafted brews at the end.

Visitors can also enjoy two free pints of beer after the tour in Newlands Brewery’s historic underground pub. Sample 200 years of traditional beer making in Africa’s oldest brewery.

The history of Newlands Brewery

The story of beer in the Cape began in 1658 - before the famed wine industry even. A man by the name of Peter Visagie brewed his own beer on the banks of the Liesbeek River. This river was pure rainwater that had run down from the slopes of Table Mountain.

In 1820, Jacob Letterstedt built the original Maiendahl Brewery in Newlands, which now forms part of the existing Newlands Brewery, on the banks of the Liesbeek River. River water was then used in the brewing process for Letterstedt’s beers.

Upon Letterstedt’s death in 1888, a man called Anders Ohlsson purchased the brewery and began using the Newlands spring water to refine the brews, rather than the river water. The spring water was more pure and crisp and gave the beers a better taste.

In 1956, South African Breweries (SAB) merged with Ohlsson’s Cape Breweries and took ownership of Newlands brewery. Some of the original buildings, such as the old Malt House, Oast House and Mariendahl Tower Brewery still stand. The brewery was overhauled and renovated in the 1990s and the original buildings were granted National Heritage status in October 1995.

The beers of Newlands Brewery

The award-winning beers, brewed on-site, are renowned across the globe and are made from the Newlands spring water that flows naturally from the ground at the brewery. This pure water gives the beers their crisp and refreshing qualities.

Newlands Brewery brews eight brands of beer using time-honoured techniques and quality ingredients. These beers are then bottled on-site into cans, kegs or glass bottles. The standard brewing time can take up to three weeks, including the mashing, fermentation and maturation processes.

The guided tours of the brewery run every weekday at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. On Saturdays, there is one tour at 10am. For bookings, email or phone +27 (0)21 658 7440. Tours cost R30 per person.


Take a look at the historical pictures and story of The Old Biscuit Mill.


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Author: Seeff

Submitted 14 Sep 18 / Views 401