Sometimes one finds an article in the press that just makes you want to go out and throttle the author, not only because of its really crap level of journalism, but also because of the many blatant untruths that it records. But in this day and age we can’t do that as it is frowned upon, but we can certainly set the record straight.
Camelthorn Brewing Company from Namibia has been going through a tough time and there have been a number of reports floating around touching the subject, but a recent article by Edson Haufiku from the online publication Informanté is just the cherry on the crap-pile.
We have worked closely with Jörg Finkeldey from CBC for about a year having started out in the beer industry in 2010. Our passion for the industry is due in part to people like Jörg. His dream of creating a beer range that offers an alternative to the mainstream and actually going out there and doing it takes a lot of balls. How many people can say that they have made their dreams come true?
Jörg is a beer man through and through. Having built some 360 breweries around the world. This article claims that “He was employed as a chemical engineer at NBL (Namibian Breweries), but turned to brewing when he left. A former employer narrated how Finkeldey could not stop boasting about bringing NBL to its knees with his beers.” Any person who knows the man knows that this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Jörg Finkeldey does not have an arrogant bone in his body, and I am sure that every person that has had the pleasure of dealing in business with him will agree. He has always made time to answer questions and offer advice to aspiring brewers thereby helping them to achieve their own dreams.
Maybe he has made some bad business decisions. So have I. So have some of the top businessmen in the world, but it’s his passion to produce a superior quality product that has led him to fight on to keep CBC brewing. Camelthorn has also always had a board of directors and investors so surely they should also look at their responsibility for where the company has gone wrong? To say that his “employees were required to multi-task as drivers, marketers and at times, as assistant-brewers” is surely what every small business owner has to do?
The Informanté article is not only loaded with bullshit, but also just plain nasty, bringing Jörg’s private life into the article where quite frankly it has nothing to do with anyone other than him, and his family. Sies Edson!
Every brewer knows how tough it is to set up a new brewery, and while some of the popular brews available in the Cape have been able to avoid the massive expense of building a brewery from scratch (brands like Darling Brew and Jack Black have been brewed on contract by Boston Brewery) Jörg had to probably run his business as a one man show to be able to keep it ticking over. But Camelthorn is by no means dead.
South Africa and Namibia might not see the brews on shelves in their local liquor stores at the moment, but CBC continues to export to the USA, India, Sweden, Finand and Denmark, while also contract brewing for other brands. There are also a number of venues in both South Africa and Namibia that continue to supply Camelthorn on tap as transporting kegs is far cheaper than bottles. In SA you can find it at The Mount Restaurant, Ricks Cafe, Saints Burger Joint, The German Club & Scrumpy Jacks, while in Namibia the Swakopmund Brauhaus, the Gondwana Lodges, Mushara Lodges to name a few. The Namibian Minister of Trade & Industry has also just sent 100 cases of Camelthorn beer to its ministries around the world, and the brewery has just sent a shipment of Bok Beer, Rooibos Beer and African Stout to the United States and another shipment of Fresh Weissbier to India.
Eddie says that the fact that CBC didn’t provide brand fridges to outlets made it difficult to market and stock the brand, but it is more the fact that the major brands do supply branded fridges, branded glasses, branded beer mats, branded umbrellas, branded decoration, branded promotions, branded clothing, branded bottle openers and every other conceivable bit of branded merchandising, making it very difficult for smaller brands to just get their foot in the door.
And Edson – do some research before you spew out the bullshit you did. Camelthorn Brewing Company certainly does not brew “5 ales” as you stated. One look at their website would’ve told you that and a whole lot more. CBC specialises in Bavarian styled beers, brewing 3 weissbeers (Weizen, Fresh & Bok), 2 lagers (Helles & Schwartz), a Rooibos beer & only one ale (American Red Ale).
We all wish Camelthorn Brewing Company the best and look forward to better days when it is more widely available to be enjoyed by all those who care about quality. In the meantime, as we have stated many times before, support your local craft brewer because their dreams will be your pleasure.