Capital Craft: Drayman’s Brewery Interview
One of the older cousins in the brewing game, Drayman’s has been around for ages and with age, comes great wisdom. Ahead of their Capital Craft appearance on 10 June, I had a chat with frontman, Moritz Kallmeyer, to elicit some of that wisdom and share it with you.
Richard Chemaly (RC): You’ve been on the map for much longer than most of the craft breweries. What’s your take on the sudden interest in craft beer from about 2011 and what to what do you attribute its increased fame?
Drayman’s Brewery (DB): We seem to follow USA trends to the letter – we are just 10 years behind them and unfortunately we have 200 million less people to support the trend! I also would like to believe that I did have a small role to play in that first tiny wave.
RC: What do you think this says about the future of the South African craft beer industry?
DB: That the Craft Beer industry is doomed unless we find a way to roll out our wares to the 45 million black people not yet drinking (or thinking anything about it) craft beer. All new craft breweries tend to only cater for 5 million white upper class white audience.
RC: As one of the more experienced brewers around, which of the newcomers are exciting you and why?
DB: There are very few solid craft brewers around and those that started off as craft brewers like CBC are now in the commercial brewery category riding the comfortable wave of “Craft” – those are the real wolfs in sheep’s clothing.
It is jaw dropping when you read the hoo haa the guys make of their brand on social media and then when you actually pop in at their brewery you see what they have, taste what they brew, how dirty they operate and how tiny the place is!
It makes me think that they just want to pull the wool over their followers eyes to make them believe they have an awesome brand and awesome beer…when it’s miserably far away from it.
DB: Recently I have realised that a great tasting beer is only half of the enjoyment of beer – for me the other half is that I should have respect for the brewery and if it operates in an ethical fashion. Unscrupulous bullying “let’s get rid of X brewery from this or that establishment” tactics just for the sake of selling beer will leave such a bitter taste in my mouth causing me to never drink that beer again – no matter how well it’s brewed.
RC: I want to ask you about the distilling side of your business. The only other brewery with a still that I’m aware of is the Famous Brew and Still in Bloemfontein. Is the lack of popularity of the model due to spreading too thin or is this merely a matter of beer drinkers not getting along with whisky drinkers
DB: Just like in the USA (again), it’s currently growing tremendously and virtually every little brewery I know of is secretly trying its hand at craft distilling of vodka, gin and even whisky. They are looking at other opportunities to survive while they all try, just like myself, to sustainably grow the beer segment.
RC: Does brewing ever get old? Will you ever get back into being a biokinetesist? Or is this a marriage which requires no counselling?
DB: I’ve been a beekeeper all my life and I have grown this into a substantial business with an arm of apitherapy (bee products and bee venom therapy to keep healthy) so the Biokineticist inside me has never really ceased to exist!
RC: You’ve been around and must have seen some things in your time so finally, we must ask…what has been the funniest, stupidest or most surprising thing you’ve seen some people do while afflicted by your product?
DB: A guy that worked for me discovered a half a 5L Solera cask of whisky which I had forgotten about, in my boot while washing the car. One hour passed and I found him behind the car and he started chatting to me in a language I’ve never heard before.
Upon enquiring he proclaimed “It is a new language which I invented in Atteridgeville”!