We’ve long enjoyed the high quality range of beers and ciders on offer at The Clarens Brewery. The range of award winning beers, bottled under the Clarens Brewery label are brewed at the brewery premises in Market Street, and until recently the ciders were brewed out on Natalie and Stefan’s farm. This turned out to be a bit of a logistic problem, and so now all the machinery has been moved to Sias Oosthuizen Street.
I visited the “factory” on Sias Oosthuizen Street to have a look at the process. The machinery was imported from Austria in 2005, and is the only one of its kind in South Africa. Given enough fruit the factory can produce 4000 litres of juice per day – and it’s so efficient that it only needs two people to run it. It’s all quite fascinating to watch as apples are loaded into the machine, washed and escalated upwards into the press, but there’s not much to see at the other end, except for the pulp as all the juice is piped directly into a holding tank. They use machine mainly to press apples and pears, but the the machinery is also capable of pressing other fruit.
It took loads of will power to stop myself from stealing an apple (or two) from the waiting bins of apples waiting to be pressed. Only apples which have been freshly picked off the trees are used. (Stefan told me that, whilst it may be tempting to use windfall apples, these are never used as any apples that have been in contact with the ground are covered in micro-organisms which make the juice cloudy.) Cider is also made from pears, berries and cherries – and again only the best quality produce is used.
The ciders are brewed under the Red Stone label: a name inspired by the Rooiberg range which overlooks Clarens. And the labels feature flora and fauna that are commonly sighted in the area. (The Apple cider label features the red-wing starling; Pineapple cider features a porcupine; Cherry cider features an ibis, and the berry cider features a jackal.) You could say that this product is not only made in Clarens but it also reflects so much of what we love about this town.
Article by Toni B Walters
Clarens News 11 April, 2014