Category: Brewers Rants

Status Update – Why I hate Bankers & Financiers

So, I have been rather quiet on the brewing front – not through any fault of my own, mind you.

For those in the know, I have been rather busy trying to finance our brewpub. I completed our bankable feasibility study (A.K.A. Business Plan) roughly about two years ago and have been trying to raise the capital we need to execute the plan.

What a f@rking nightmare.

I am used to working with big capital projects in my professional capacity and as such am quite used to compiling these feasibility studies from an engineering perspective. It is a very different kettle of fish if you want to do this in the private sector with our laws as they stand today in the good old RS of A.

First off – let me state – no venture capitalist (if you are very lucky to find one) will go near you if you cannot contribute at least thirty percent of the upfront capital required for the project. No problem – go to the bank to raise capital against your property(ies) – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

You can forgive me dear reader as I pick myself up off the floor with that last statement. Each and every bank that I have spoken to in the RS of A (the ones that are commercially sound), will not give you anything like a letter of guarantee that you can use to raise the funds you need. This was something they used to do in the good old days. Not anymore. What they do now is – re-mortgage your property. So you pay f@rking again for money that you might not get.

The next problem comes up with the so called AA partners. Don’t get me wrong – these b@stards are just middle men skimming the cream off the top whilst actually doing bugger all except being “connectors”. They contribute exactly nothing but want to eat from the same bowl, so to speak. It reminds me a bit of those bloody money lenders once the sh@t hit the fan in the Rustenburg area. And trust me – they are all bloody schemers. I have met enough of them to know that there is no goodwill among them.

So where to go next and how to approach it.

Well, we do have a blessing in disguise here in the good old RS of A. We have that blasted power utility called #EISHKOM. You see, they have unwittingly created a very niche market with their professional attitude to not maintaining their equipment and happily bankrupting the books with their accomplices the #ZUPTAS. What does this mean? Their equipment is breaking down left right and center. This means we get load shedding. This also means that when they do switch the power back on, it is not at the greatest quality and it destroys peoples’ electronics.

This is not good for the populace of SA, but it is great for me. Now I don’t mean to sound condescending, but when last did you see an actual electronic repair shop? I don’t mean the guy on the street corner that professes to repair your phone screen.

I have had enough colleagues and acquaintances approach me to fix their consumer electronic goods after having been destroyed by #EISHKOM.

In the beginning, I only asked for a case of #beer for my time and that the poor soul pay for the parts. Then I found out that the butchers in the various townships are charging ZAR1000.00 just to look at the device. Trust me, I can safely call them butchers as I have repaired more than enough of these boards after those b@stards have had their hands on them.

So, with this in mind, an idea dawned on me.

First, lets just look at the stats for this year January 2019 – March 2019

  • TV’s repaired – 26
  • Microwaves repaired – 6
  • Electric fence energizer boards repaired – 4
  • Audio visual amplifiers repaired – 8
  • Access control boards repaired – 3
  • Battery chargers repaired – 2

Now, I am sure that you understand that I cannot accept #beer for the repairs any more. Even I cannot drink that fast. And as an aside, all these repairs are done after hours.

So, for my brainwave.

I am going to start a You-Tube channel where I will teach people to to repair these poor devices. Yes dear reader, I will teach you the black arts of electronics for free. I will keep the math as simple as possible and only use it where absolutely necessary. I will review a South African #craftbeer with every video. I will make it humorous and of course there will be rants about all sorts of things.

I will however have to charge for the repairs. I think a service fee of ZAR500 excluding parts is very fair. All the money that I raise from this endeavor will go into our capital fund for #FoulkesBrau.

With that being said, all the filming equipment has being ordered and now I am at the mercy of the blasted post office. Let me not start a new rant.

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated down below.

Cheers in beers


Beer & Braai in Paris with a Y

You may think the title says it all, but the story of how we got there is a lot more entertaining.

For a while now, light-hearted banter has been bouncing back and forth on Twitter between myself, Gareth AKA @BraaiBoy and Jorge AKA @BraaiWeather; mostly about beer and braai and the weather required for partaking in these activities. Jorge, being a native of Belgium has a particularly delightful way with the English language and this shines through in some of his tweets.

One day Jorge tagged a braai manufacturer @Chad-O-Chef (Derick) in one of his tweets while inviting myself and Gareth to come and test this equipment out. Which is to say Gareth to braai and me to bring the beer. Of course we played along with this light hearted conversation, while not realizing that Jorge was in fact quite serious.

Email addresses were exchanged and I didn’t think much more about it.

The filming of the season ending show for “Opgetof” (on Via TV – DSTV channel 147) was to take place in Paris with a Y in the Free state. Jorge reckoned that these celebrity types would need some beer and food for the show and that Gareth would be the ideal chap to do the braaing. Derick immediately stepped up to the plate and offered his braai equipment.  Gareth had to swap some events around and pretty soon everything was arranged.

I was not sure what sort of beer these people would like so I settled on our very own #BatShitCrazy American Blonde Ale. My thoughts were that it was an easy enough drinking beer and would compliment any of the foods that Gareth decided to prepare. The beer in itself is a very simple grain bill with only a base malt and a small percentage of specialty malt. It also uses only one single hop and as a single bittering addition. The beer was brewed and conditioned and soon enough the big day arrived.

I had some niggling thoughts in the back of my head about the people I would be serving so I stopped off at the local bottle store in Parys and procured various commercial beers that I thought these celebrity types might enjoy – just to be safe.

Jorge had got the weather right. The day was stunning. Clear blue skies and a nice summer day. My part was easy – it doesn’t take much to hook up a draft tower to a keg and gas. I must admit, I am no expert on braai-equipment, but the stuff Derick bought along was really solid. Nice shiny stainless steel and really well put together. The braai is known as a hybrid and one can use either gas, wood or your fuel of choice. And it is really easy to clean to boot. Next to arrive was Gareth. I kid you not folks, he arrived in a costume. I felt a little out of place with my brewers uniform of jeans and crocs, but I suppose we can’t all have a superhero costume like Gareth.

I on the other hand was getting my first of the curious celebrity types. The first one cautiously started with a small flute of beer and then later returned for a full pint size. As the word spread, the new celebs would go straight for the pint size. I am sure a lot of it had to do with the delicious aromas that were coming from Gareth and the hybrid next to me. Gareth was simultaneously preparing BRM Ribs, Cheesegrillers, Wings, Fruit skewers and Bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes. The man knows his thing and the hybrid kept right up with him.

The one thing I must admit is – this is the first time I have brewed for a festival or gathering that is not beer orientated. I was rather nervous, because normally the festivals I brew for revolve around people that want craft beer and know a bit about it. This event was very refreshing. I had to explain the story of the name behind the #BatShitCrazy Blonde Ale, the mechanisms and concepts of brewing and all sorts of funny things beer related. From rather old ducks and oom’s to some rather fit farming types, they all swapped their champagne flutes for our beer. We even won over the hardcore brandy and coke brigade. I was particularly taken by one old duck. Her first words to me – I don’t drink beer. I managed to persuade her to try a glass. I offered her a short flute. Her response was brilliant: “Young man, go big or go home.” Needless to say, she kept coming back to refill her beer glass throughout the day. Better still, she would drag the rest of her bridge club with her to come taste – the “crazy blonde ale”.

I needn’t have worried about bringing any commercial beer with me. Nobody touched it. I was pleasantly surprised with the curiosity of the people that are not really into the craft beer side of things and their genuine willingness to embrace and try beer that is not mainstream. We did run out of beer towards the end of the day, but I took it as a lesson. The food was great, the atmosphere explosive and the company was just excellent.

The million dollar question – will we do this again? There are some rumors floating around, but nothing confirmed. All I can say is that the next one will be an open invite and who knows, maybe we can have a little friendly braai-off between Gareth and our own @thenuttychef.

Jorge has put another challenge to me – I will have to clone the beloved #Duvel from his homeland. I have put together a recipe for it. It will be a challenge, but it will be great.

All photo’s by Jorge (@BraaiWeather)

Cheers in Beers


FoulkesOkes Collaboration Beer – The story Part II

Hey there all you craft beer fans. Welcome to part two of the FoulkesOkes Collaboration.

For the first part of the story: FoulkesOKes Collaboration Beer – The story Part I

So, we left off with the tasting notes on the beer. You may have noticed that the comments section of the tasting notes is mainly related to feedback to the brewer, and what they may change to fix any flaws detected etc. In our case, it was what we would change to enhance the beer. In summary, Hennie (Two Okes Brewery) and I were happy with the beer, we only wanted a bit more hop aroma.

The Germans had convinced us to leave well alone and not make any changes to the recipe. Read more

FoulkesOkes Collaboration Beer – The story Part I

Hey there all you great and wonderful beer-people, this is the story behind the FoulkesOkes Collaboration Beer.

As some of you are aware, we are busy with the final stages of our business plan. Most of the research has been done. Beer festivals visited; copious amounts of beer sampled and a few festivals along the way graced with the presence of our beer. This has allowed us to collate data as to whether our dream of starting this brew pub is just a dream or whether it is actually feasible. We have acquired a chef along the way and are now four members strong. I have embarked on a twitter campaign while our Yeastie has done her thing on Facebook (she is better with words, I am better at short and sharp). All in all, the hype seems to be working. There is one thing however, that has been bothering me. The Americans say: “Build it and they will come.” While this boisterous American attitude seems sufficient to continue  – it is not enough for my naturally cautious nature, and definitely not enough to raise the funds needed with a venture of this size. Not to even mention the misgivings of my hesitant accomplice! Read more

Award winning Ale for the SA 2015 NHBC ???

Hey there all you Foulkes followers,

As you know, the  2015 National homebrew champs are around the corner. If  you have not been brewing this weekend, then you may well be cutting the deadline very short indeed. Please check in regularly on the link above as Lucy (aka The Brewmistress) keeps updating the details as she receives them.

This year, all entries will be judged according to the 2015 BJCP Guidelines. This is important to keep in mind as the changes from the 2008 guide are quite radical. Our entry is brewed on the same scale as that of the average homebrewer and will be entered under the Style 13 – Brown British beer and sub-style 13A – Dark mild. Read more