South Africa

South Africa’s favourite beers

Carling Black Label remains South Africa’s favourite beer, with South African Breweries (SAB) favourites dominating the top 10. However, smaller breweries and craft beers have grown in popularity to challenge established brands. 

This was revealed in a survey by Eighty20, where the alcohol consumption habits of South Africans were analysed. 

South Africa ranks fifth globally in alcohol consumption, with the average South African alcohol consumer drinking 30 litres of alcohol in a year. 

This is below the country’s regional neighbours, such as Namibia and Eswatini, which consume 33 and 34 litres annually, respectively. 

Nearly half of South Africa’s adult population consumed alcohol in the past month, with beer being the preferred choice for 41%. 

Interestingly, half a million consumers choose to consume non-alcoholic beer. Eighty20’s analysis shows this is a health and taste choice as more than three-quarters of non-alcoholic beer consumers also drink regular beer. 

Eighty20 surveyed over 20,000 South Africans to analyse the number of people who drink alcohol and what brands they consume. 

The data shows that smaller brands have grown rapidly to challenge traditional SAB brands, such as Black Label and Castle Lite.

However, SAB’s Flying Fish brand has also grown to become the fourth most consumed beer in the country. 

Black Label has retained its position as the most consumed beer brand in the country, with nearly two million South Africans consuming it in any given week. 

In second place is the ‘another brand’ category, a collection of small independent breweries and craft beers. 

Castle Lite is third on the list, with over 1.25 million South Africans consuming it weekly. It is followed by Flying Fish and Heineken, which replaced Castle Lager in the top five.

However, Black Label is only the third most popular alcohol brand by consumption overall. 

4th Street Wine, owned by Distell, is the most consumed alcohol brand in the country, with over 2 million South Africans consuming it every week. 

Another Distell-owned brand, Savannah, is a close second, followed by Black Label in third. Brutal Fruit and Gordon’s Gin round out the top five. 

Consumption by category has changed significantly over the past ten years, said Eighty20. Beer is still largely consumed by the masses, but other categories are growing strongly, particularly the ready-to-drink category, wine, and spirits.