On first arriving in Kommetjie in 2008, a family friend came to visit and we visited one of the local watering holes. After checking the locals walking around with no shoes, sun blasted skin and hair and raggedy clothes, he commented “everybody here looks like they came off a shipwreck.” So…. when it was time to find a name for the brewery (at that stage a garage homebrew setup), Shipwreck Brewery seemed like a good one to use. In later times, the shipwreck of the Kakapo has also been an influence for Chip Snaddon, the Shipwreck logo designer who has drawn inspiration from the propeller of the wreck of the Kakapo on Noordhoek beach.
On moving to Kommetjie from the USA in 2008, it was impossible to find a decent craft beer. The exception was at Cape Farmhouse events where there was some beer made by local brewing legend Franz from Scarborough. After years of talking about brewing, it was time to start homebrewing in 2013. A few years and a few beers came to pass and 3 things happened around the same time in early 2018…. 1. I quit my day job…. 2. Geoff Downes took over the Green Room in Kommetjie and told me he really liked my beer and wanted to put it on tap, which was difficult as I didn’t own a single keg or know how to fill them. 3. I was invited by a couple of experienced brewers, Franz and Greg from Banana Jam to come and brew on their equipment. The first real commercial batch was a coffee chocolate oatmeal stout, the Dark Side, a 400 liter batch brewed at Afro Caribbean Brewing Company in May 2018.
Late in 2018 Shipwreck moved to the Valley Brewery in Fish Eagle Park, using Glen’s equipment and expertise to brew and have started selling my beer in Limoncello, Noordhoek; the Camel Rock, Scarborough; and Espresso.Kom, Kom Liquors and the Green Room in Kommetjie. Plans for the future are to grow slowly and add some more outlets that share the same philosophy, believe local is lekker and that want to help move the craft beer scene forward, help educate drinkers and sell the tastiest, freshest beers we can provide.
A new chapter started in August 2019 when my wife took over the Green Room in Kommetjie and it has been an unofficial Shipwreck Brewery tap room ever since. Times have been challenging as currently (Feb 2021) in our 18 months of ownership, we have had a full 12 months of varying levels of lock down, alcohol bans, full closures and the drop in business related to these restrictions. We are still going strong and hoping to go from strength to strength.