Our story is based on two remarkable people, Kevin and Philippa Wood, our founders, who envisaged a brewery which would not only become a business success but also a model of sustainability, supporting local and staying true to the old adage that with hard work success inevitably follows.
It all began with a chance meeting with a brewer in Nieu-Bethesda in the Eastern Cape at the foot of the Sneeuberge. According to Philippa the brewer was living the dream with a small brewing operation as well as producing goats milk cheese in a small town. Because they felt a personal attachment and love for Darling and all it has to offer they saw no reason why a craft brewery couldn’t become their dream in Darling.
Chatting to Kevin it is easy to understand not only the success of the business, but also the intense passion and enthusiasm for everything that makes Darling Brew so exciting and unique in the crowded craft beer marketplace. From his passion for conservation and the way in which we treat the planet to his vast retail experience which has allowed us to build up a vast distribution network across South Africa.
He chats openly about the challenges he faced in starting up the brewery, about how his intense fear of failure drives him to keep working hard to ensure that never happens and how his passion for Darling has allowed him to overcome the obstacles and challenges in bringing the brewery to Darling.
Philippa reminisces about the first two years of Darling Brew – 2010 to 2011 – when they both held down full-time jobs while at the same time attempting to get their brewery off the ground. They would work until five every day and then go out on deliveries ensuring that all their stockists got their first brew, Slow Beer, which often landed up being around ten or eleven at night.
It was in 2012 when Kevin and Philippa were finally able to commit themselves full time to running the brewery, which had grown exponentially. Starting with eight barrels of beer in a tiny micro-brewery above a restaurant to contract brewing in Cape Town – with a Tasteroom in Darling’s Main Road – and finally building their own brewery in Darling in 2015.
The new Darling Brew Tasteroom and Brewery was built with recycled and eco-friendly material. The furniture was created by Darling artisans. The restaurant uses locally sourced produce. Each beer flavour represents an animal in trouble in Africa and every beer label tells the story and creates awareness of the plight of that animal. The Tasteroom offers shower facilities and bicycle racks for Mountain Bike enthusiasts – an eco-friendly sport that Darling Brew supports. Most importantly the new Brewery houses the core support team, which includes young locals being taught the art of brewing.
Philippa jokes that her greatest achievement is that they have remained married, but to many they are a unique success story in the craft brew industry.
Interviewed and written by InstaEatsCapeTown