If you grow it slow enough and grow the market with you, it can be a success!
Seeing as though Father’s Day was on its way, I thought it would be a great idea to have a sit down with Gerhard Groenewald, Father of PG, MBco’s brewmaster and the real Golden Madala of Mountain Brewing Co.
Q. Would it be correct to say that in South Africa you are a bit of a 4×4 guru?
A. I think you can say that I’ve been around the mountain a couple of times and through my travels, I have been fortunate to visit and experience some of the most scenic and interesting spots.
Q. This is definitely some tough & extreme driving and I am sure you enjoyed a cold one afterwards, what used to be your go-to beer?
A. Pilsner Urquell used to be my go-to beer.
Q. You are also involved with conservation efforts, and I have seen you in photos with baby baboons? Tell us a bit more about that.
A. I love all animals, but have a very special relationship since childhood with baboons and seeing that they are considered vermin in South Africa, with a policy of “kill on site”, I try and rehabilitate small baboons and unite them with a troop, one at a time.
Q. Since opening the brewery, how has your taste for beer changed?
A. I am more exposed to different styles of beer and love the variety. I love the more hoppy beers.
Q. A Dad always has good advice for his kids, so when PG decided he wanted to become a brewer, what were your thoughts as a Dad and what advice did you offer?
A. Out of all the ideas and schemes over the years, beer brewing seemed more viable. After tasting his first beer, still in kit form, I immediately saw a business opportunity that could enhance Klipbokkop’s business. My advice to PG has always been, take baby steps and keep up the quality. Do not dream of becoming the next beer on every shelf.
Q. When MBco had its official opening, I remember you brewed a mighty Stout, are there any other brews since that you have been proud of?
A. Not really, even though I am a quick learner and it’s fun, brewing is not for me.
Q. You have been very ‘Hands-On’ with the construction of the brewery, is there any future plans for the brewery?
A. Yes, we are in the process of constructing a building, to have space for more experimental types of brew, like Vat Brewing.
Q. Mountain Brewing has grown substantially since opening, did you ever think the brand would grow like this?
A. In all honesty no, but with all the medals and praise for PG’s beer from the marketplace, the growth came exponentially.
Q. Both you and PG obviously have a vision for the Brand and Brewery, where would you like to see MBco in 2 years time?
A. A small brewery with high-quality beers, where people can order in advance for their seasonal beer or speciality beer. The Trappist way.
Q. Of all the beers types that PG has and currently brews which is your favourite?
A. PG has been brewing a very tasty English IPA, then there is Cape Kraken, but Copper Dawn has become a favourite as well.
Q. Obviously Mountain Brewing Co. strives to brew the highest quality beer, and that has shown in medals but what else can you say MBco can be seriously proud of?
A. We have strived to incorporate the local community through recycling of bottles, wooden crates made by the handicapped and using local packaging rather than importing cheaper products. This has been a success story on its own for MBco, creating work and supporting the handicapped. We are proud of that.
Q. Lastly, I think it’s really outstanding how you have been involved with your son’s choice to do what he loves. What advice can you give to other Fathers out there with their children who have, what seems at first, an outlandish dream?
A. If you have a market for the idea, it can work. If you grow it slow enough and grow the market with you, it can be a success.