SMACK! Republic’s bold beers and eye-catching graphics make for a can’t-miss beer brewery – one of my first stops at this year’s Capital Craft Beer Festival! We asked them a few questions about beer, brewing, and branding.
If someone is new to the world of craft beer, where would you recommend they start, and why?
South Africa’s commercial market is dominated by lagers and pilsners, so the first step is to forget everything you think you know about beer.
Craft brewers push the boundaries and produce styles of beer that aren’t usually experienced by the majority of the public. Red, blonde, stout, weiss, dunkel, saison – these are rare styles of beer with flavour, aroma, and personality that people need to discover.
What prompted SMACK! Republic to start brewing?
We started home brewing in the garage a few years ago. This curiosity led to a hobby, which turned into a passion for beer. One day we decided that the time was right to put Jozi craft beer on the map, and we opened our own brewery.
We started to see brewing as an art form where we could express our creativity and ideas through the beers we make. The nuances of beer are fascinating – how a few more grams of hops, or a few degrees change of temperature can produce drastically different results in the finished product.
Your beers and brand are intrinsically connected to urban Johannesburg, and goes with the recent inner-city revival. Are your beers best enjoyed in Johannesburg?
They can be enjoyed anywhere but will always keep Jozi top of mind!
Does the JHB inner-city locations specifically inspire any flavours, recipes, or ideas?
Absolutely, each character is named after iconic Joburg areas, or icons, each with their monologue of inner city revival, which can be read on the bottle, which is also signed by each character. I MEAN CHECK OUT THESE BEER MONOLOGUES:
I am captivating. Beguiling. This city awash with my gilded craft. Golden. The heady scent of this revival, Cascading. Take my hand, let’s walk these streets of gold. Drink me in …
I forge the future. Individual. My bittersweet story litters this urban revival. Daring. The city landscape peppered with the fruits of my labour. Free. Follow me, embrace my world of reverence. Drink me in …
I have earned my title. Victorious. Amid the city roar I stand heroic, crimson, Tall. My signature blow explosive, shattering your perceptions. Undefeated. Gaze up at me, bitter defeat has never tasted this glorious. Drink me in…
I am not your precious flower. Unique. My innocent sweetness laced with a bitter twist. Paradoxical. I may be different, but I don’t give a f***. Exhilarating. Hold me, but only if you can handle the rush. Drink me in …
Would you ever consider brewing a Church Square Cider or a Pretoria Pilsner?
SMACK! 2.0 – we are way ahead of you… watch this space!!!
You are no longer based at Arts on Main in Maboneng. Whereto next?
In order to upscale we are relocating to an industrial location as we begin our expansion. Space is all important which is why we are venturing outside our beloved CBD. We will update you on the details as we manage this transition.
Our current space at Arts on Main officially closed its doors at the end of November.
Sundays at Market on Main will never be the same. It’s sad, yes, but at the same time exciting…
Think of us as your teenage child that’s about to leave home for university. Our bags are packed, we are full of nervous energy, the world awaits…
In your opinion, what makes SMACK! Beers stand out from the rest?
Beer anarchists? Hop headed urban warriors? Hell yes!
We were the kids who played with matches… the kids who crossed the road looking left & right, but NOT left again… Welcome to our world of rebellion. Our beer and our brewery truly embody these qualities. Bold. Curious. Paradoxical.
From inception to pour, our anarchistic brews are treated like craft royalty. To us, beer is an art form. We bring together the world of craft beer and art in our brewing process, our distinctive bottle designs.
How important is festivals like Capital Craft to the world of microbreweries?
For us, Capital Craft epitomises a true craft beer fest as their value for customers, entertainment and quality of beer are all exceptional! It is a great platform for new breweries to get out there too.
Craft beer has recently seen an incredible boom in interest. Do you think there is still room for growth in the coming years?
Yes – provided the beer is consistent in quality, reliable in stock delivery, and the enterprise is run like a business.
Of the bands on the Capital Craft lineup this year, which would you say will be best paired with a SMACK! Republic beer?
It’s got to be Shortstraw – Indie foot tapping goodness, with charisma and creative energy!
If you’re ever at a bar or a party that doesn’t serve craft beer, what would you drink?
Bring on the gin! The rise of craft gin has also been nothing short of meteoric! SMACK! distillery coming soon… WHAAAAAAT?!?!?!