The History Of Hermanus Brewery

Hermanus original since 2014.


Hermanus Brewing Company was started in November of 2014 with the purpose of providing beer lovers with delicious, quality beer. Consistency and originality has been the cornerstone of our company’s philosophy since it was started.

Since the first release of our Old Harbour lager, we have hit the ground running and have been struggling to keep up with the demand ever since.


We are dedicated to buying, wherever possible local products in an effort to keep our Overberg economy and community strong and keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. We are proud to say that 90% of our ingredients are sourced within a 35km radius of our  brewery.

70% of our bottles are returned to us for a deposit, washed, sterilised and re-used, the same goes for our boxes. It is a win-win situation and all our customers have embraced our recycling policy.

After brewing all the ingredients (spent grain) are used as animal feed by a local farmer. Old Harbour Beer infused free-range pork.. gotta love it!


Old Harbour Beer is a clear yellow-rose easy drinking, session beer. It has a balanced depth of flavour with a crisp, passion fruity smooth finish. It is unpasteurized and has no additives, so pure goodness.


After spending 25 years in the construction industry in Cape Town, Hermanus Brewery founder, James Rattle, along with his wife Di and three kids relocated to the stunning seaside town of Hermanus in the Overberg.

Not wanting to continue building and noting that Hermanus didn’t have a brewery, it was the most natural conclusion.

‘Di and I did an RV trip down the west coast of the USA in 2000 and were totally inspired by all the micro breweries in all the small towns. It planted a seed and I started home-brewing when we got back. Unfortunately, in those days there wasn’t much available in the way of ingredients, only Coopers extract from Mica Hardware. Not very inspiring! Now, fortunately, we have gone full circle and everything is available.

So, in 2014 I did a course on brewing technology at the World Brewing Academy Siebel Institute in Chicago and on my return contacted Richard Hammond whom was previously the head brewer at Napier Brewery. We found a great old building in the centre of the inustrial area of Hermanus and set about renovating it into brewery specifications. Since then we had to enlarge our space to house extra tanks so that we can double up our brewing capacity. We offer a very personal service with Di doing the deliveries and keeping in touch with our customers. And if anyone pops in to visit our brewery, James offers a brewery tour and an OHB tasting! Using concise German-based brewing technology and James’s knowledge and experience, Hermanus Brewing Company was born.


Jet setting off to China to check our equipment was a huge adventure. Beijing, bullet trains, Buddha’s and beer.

The factory in Jinan was actually there and our equipment quality exceeded our expectation. A Chinese/German precision amalgamation.


Our dream of winning an award for our delicious lager turned in to a reality. We won GOLD at the National Beer Trophy Awards in 2017, for our classic South African lager.

Wow, what a night! Nothing could have prepared us for the excitement of the evening, especially when we realised we were up against breweries from all around South Africa.

We entered our lager again in 2018, and won another GOLD Medal. Nothing could have made us prouder, all our hard work and dedication for perfecting our product was paying off.

In 2019, Di received the Mayoral Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. A huge achievement and recognition for the contribution that Hermanus Brewery has made to the economy of the Overberg, and creating a brand for everyone to be proud of. We are really grateful, a huge team effort.

In 2020 we won Silver for our delicious Dark Lager with hints of chocolate and coffee a sure winner at the National Beer Trophy Awards.

The Old Harbour Beer Team

History in the making