The Zululand Brewing Company (ZBC) is known as the smallest family-owned brewery on the KZN Brew Route (their first brews were produced in a little pool shed). It began in 1997, when the Chennells family founded their own beer company grounded in Eshowe. Based some 150km northeast of Durban, the brewery is hoping its visitors will discover the wider charms of Zululand as well as enjoy the beer. The town is one of great historical significance. King Cetshwayo was born and died here. It has been home to three other famous Zulu Kings: Shaka, Mpande and Dinuzulu. It has a fascinating cross-cultural history, including that of the colourful John Dunn with his 48 wives and 117 children. He was Cetshwayo’s secretary and diplomatic adviser and South Africa’s first and only official white Zulu iNkosi.
“The blonde beer became known as Zulu Blonde, and this is where the brand was born,” Richard Chennells explains. Built on an illustrious tradition of beer drinking, the ZBC beers have gone from strength to strength. Zulu Blonde, its flagship brand, was launched internationally in 2010 and is now stocked in more than 800 pubs in the UK. Home to the Zululand Brewing Company is The George Hotel in Eshowe, with its unique beers available on tap at the Pablo Esco Bar. This Hotel has been through the Bambata Rebellion, Union, Apartheid era and is now part of the changing new South Africa.
ZBC use natural ingredients, locally sourced – a perfect recipe of barley, wheat and hops to create just the right taste and aroma for its hand crafted beers. The brewery is capable of producing a maximum of 3 000 litres a month in batches of 300 litres. Because their brew house is so small they brew up to four times a day just to fill two 150 litre fermentation tanks! Production capacity will be enlarged should we be successful in our bid.
For a small one horse town in Zululand, the ZBC has built quite a reputation for itself…. In 2010, Zulu Blonde competing against 50 other international brews was voted the number 1 ale at the JD Wetherspoons International Real Ale Festival!