Jack Black Brewing Company | Q&A
Originally Posted on May 03, 2017
Made with the finest natural ingredients at their Cape Town brewery, Jack Black Brewing Company is a brewery dedicated to making beers that inspire them. Their focus is on flavour whilst their philosophy is to innovate whilst staying true to traditional, hand crafted methods. This focus has seen them grow to become one of South Africa’s most sought after and well-loved craft beers.
Who are you/what do you do? Frans van Staden, Marketing Coordinator, Jack Black Brewing Company.
How did you get into this line of work? I’ve been a home brewer for a few years and a certified beer geek! I also happen to be a marketing graduate and when I saw Jack Black advertising a marketing vacancy, I knew this is the perfect job for me.
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? In 2007, founders Meghan and Ross McCulloch decided to pursue their dream of turning their passion for beer into business. Their time in Canada prior to their move back to the Mother City influenced their decision as craft beer had blown up in North America and on visits back to Cape Town, they witnessed that the craft beer choices in South Africa were basically non-existent. Fueled with passion, perseverance and little else – at a time when the words “craft beer” were foreign to most – Jack Black’s has grown to become one of South Africa’s most sought after and well-loved craft beers.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years time? The last 9 years have been so interesting and so rewarding for us as a company. We are still family owned and operated and we would like to keep it that way. We are starting to export small quantities of our beers and we hope that we will be able to grow our exports in the next 5 years. We are also working hard to be the best craft brewery in Africa, that produces world class beers at affordable prices.
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? Our founder, Ross McCulloch, fell in love with the North American craft beer scene when he was living abroad. One of his absolute favourite breweries is Sierra Nevada. We draw great inspiration from their story and their founder Ken Grossman, who built this amazing company with little resources, to one of the biggest in the US. We admire their passion, their skill and their pioneering attitude.
Out of all the beers you brew, which is your favourite? Why is that? We are very fortunate to have 7 beers we brew all year round. The South African climate is perfectly suited for session-able beers, as the warm weather can make a man quite thirsty. That being said, as winter gets in to full swing in Cape Town, I can’t help but reaching out for a bottle of our Lumberjack Amber Ale. It’s rich malt body and resinous hop flavours is the perfect winter companion.
What have you found the hardest thing to master when learning to brew? Our company started out contracting brewing at various breweries around Cape Town. It was only in May 2016 that we were officially brewing all of our own beer at our brand new state of the art brewery. Our biggest challenge over the years has been to keep up with demand for our beer, as well as being able to brew consistent good quality beers. Now that we brew all our beer ourselves, we can keep a close eye on the quality and consistency of our beers. We are also able to introduce new beers to the market, which has been very exciting for us.
What can we expect from Jack Blacks in the coming months? As mentioned previously we hope to be able to export more of our beer. We are very excited to see how other countries will accept our beer and if they will love them as much as we do. We are also working on a recipe for a new beer but will only release it once we are 100% happy with the results.
What do you think makes a great beer? I think a great beer, is a beer with a story. A beer that was brewed with passion, by people who love their craft. A beer that is full of flavour and that does not compromise on quality. A great beer is not just a drink, it is something that excites you, something that challenges you, something that will change the way you look at beer. And for me that is what makes craft beer great.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? I was about 17 at the time, when my mates and I “borrowed” a few beers from my Dad, to drink while my parents where not home. I remember the excitement of drinking a beer but can’t tell you anything about the taste. It was only much later in my life when I discovered craft beer and I completely fell in love with the endless possibilities of what beer can be.
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? In South Africa we have a big brandy drinking culture. When I was at varsity, I used to drink my fare share of brandy mixed with coke. Nowadays I can’t even stand the smell of it.
What is your favourite style of beer? I am a sucker for a good IPA.
If you have to pick, which would be your top three beers in the whole world? That is a very tough question. The beer that left a lasting impression on what IPA’s could be was Dogfish Head’s 120 IPA, it blew my mind. One of my favourite local Cape Town beers, is Woodstock Brewery’s Californicator IPA, a great take on the American West Coast IPA style. And then one of my go to beers for any occasion is Jack Black’s Keller PILS, such a great unfiltered German styled pils, I really love this beer.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? Another very hard questions, haha! I remember once dancing on top of my mate’s car roof at a music festival – good times.
Jack Black Brewing Co is a brewery that we first came across at Craft Beer Rising so it has been great to find out more about their work and we are delighted to be stocking their beers. Thanks go to
Frans for chatting to us.
Browse and purchase the Jack Black range of craft beers.