I was saddened to read to today that Luyt Breweries Balito operations are about to shut down. I haven’t tasted Luyt Lager, and the closing down of this arm of the Luyt business doesn’t mean that Luyt Lager is going to disappear completely, but it was what they said in their press release that really got me thinking.
“It was our sincere belief when we established the Brewery in Ballito that residents would be proud of a local industry such as a Micro Brewery in its own ranks. The decision to establish the Brewery in Ballito was not taken lightly at the time. It was coupled with a substantial capital investment and, evidently, a misplaced expectancy of significant support from the local community.” said Louis Luyt Jnr. And that’s the crux of the matter.
The only way that micro breweries can brew beer is if the local community get behind their brand and support it. That means local restaurants and pubs serving it to local customers, and your local liquor store supplying the brand. Louis Luyt Jnr says further that, “The Dolphin Coast economy has clearly not matured enough to absorb the commercial demands of such a venture.” Bang! On the nose!
The Luyt Lager will continue to be brewed under license by StellenBräuhaus which will be established in Stellenbosch, but for the Luyt family it seems that this is an end to the hands-on making of beer. I ‘d be pretty heart-broken (depending on the size of the licensing cheque of course) because I see every day how small brewers put passion and love into their products in the hope that it’ll tickle your tastebuds and become a favourite. But without you, the locals, we might as well all pack it in and just accept the whatever brew quality is put in front of us and only feel the hangover the following day when we’re starved for choice.
So get out there, support your local micro-brewery. Support your brew master. And lets make sure that we all enjoy good-old-local-is-lekker beer! Because life is just too short for bad beer!