Why Saggy Stone is All About Sustainable Brewing
Saggy Stone has become one of the most recognised craft beer brands in South Africa, and for good reason. Founded by brothers, Phillip and Adrian Robinson, in 2007, the initial business plan was to buy a farm for the purpose of growing and exporting fruit, but that all changed after an enlightening trip to Australia when the duo realised that brewing beer was their actual calling. Today, Saggy Stone offers a wide range of distinctly delicious beers, comprising a core range, seasonal range and a growing list of Brewer’s Small Batch brews – all made from mountain water and brewed sustainably.
How it all Started
The farm, Amandalia, in the Agtervinkrivier, has one of the oldest homesteads in the area, dating back to the early 1800s. Here, they have combined farming tradition with brewing tradition, to bring hand-crafted beer with character and flavour to the valley. The water is sourced from a freshwater aquifer in the mountains, which runs along the back of the farm. This gives the beer a unique freshness and taste.
The Robinson brothers, Phillip and Adrian, have a love for beer which began in their university days – starting with small home brews, which was reignited after Phillip visited some micro-breweries in Australia while on holiday. He saw something which he knew would work here in South Africa, in the Robertson Wine Valley. At the end of 2010, the brothers started a small 200-litre operation, and now, in 2023, have two brewhouses which produce 40 000 litres per month and have a storage capacity of 70 000 litres!
Saggy Stone was also one of the first breweries to manufacture canned beers in 2016 – believing in the environmental benefit, as well as the financial savings of cans. They are lighter, which means more can be fitted on a pallet; they also have a longer shelf life and save space on pallets. More importantly, they can be crushed and recycled.
Sustainability at Saggy Stone
All can-waste from the Saggy Stone taprooms, brewery and farm (accommodation cottages), as well as glass and cardboard, are taken away for recycling. One-half of the brewery’s roof is covered in solar panels to reduce electricity usage. Their plan is to go off the power grid as much as possible within the next ten years.
The leftover mash (grain) from each brew is collected by a local organic farmer who feeds it to his pigs and chickens. The excess is also composted for the farm.
Furthermore, the wastewater is treated and used to irrigate a section of veld in the game reserve for the animals to graze on.
About Saggy Stone Brewing Co.
The name “Saggy Stone” came about when the brothers had to rebuild a stone lapa in the kloof, after it was burnt down in a veld fire in 2008. This was their ‘kuier-plek’ where they would enjoy braais over weekends with friends. The lapa was built using gabion-style walls (mesh fencing filled with river boulders). While still being constructed, a few baboons sat on the walls while we were away and the fencing stretched, causing the boulder fencing to ‘sag’ – the family’s children hence named it “Saggy Stone”.
Once they started building the first Taproom on the farm, the brothers’ children remarked that it looked just like Saggy Stone and they decided it would become another ‘kuier-plek’ where they could enjoy their craft beer with friends and customers alike.
The brothers look forward to welcoming locals and guests to their piece of paradise. For more information on Saggy Stone, visit the links below.
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