Our story is one of friendship and refusing to accept the norm.
We are three friends who grew up in South Africa, at the time a conservative nationalist state deeply divided along political and social lines - ruthlessly controlled by a draconian minority government. A bunch of bitter old guys decided who we partied with, which music we listened to and what beer we drank. As citizens of an isolated pariah state, the beer available was unimaginative and one-dimensional.
There was better beer out there. We’d read about it. Some of us had even tasted what beer could be when we travelled abroad. At home, what was served up by dominant brewery brands was bland. It screamed conformity when all we wanted was to live a little. A bunch of corporate brewers in suits were never going to take their craft to the edge and dance with it. If anyone was going to change our world view through a beer lens - it would have to be us. We knew that something made with love, care and integrity, steeped in tradition and learned expertise could rock someone’s world. Make it easy to understand, deliver at a consistently high standard, and you can create lifelong fans; change their habits forever.
For a bunch of mates, the best thing about creating a beer brand was testing the market one beer at a time. Friendships deepened, ideas flowed, plans developed… but we’re creatives, not brewers. Branding, design, strategy – between us, we had that wrapped. We needed people who could brew great beer. Starting in Belgium, and then in Germany, we rallied small, family-owned breweries to our cause. Our vision was to find brewers steeped in tradition and provenance, with a legacy of producing exceptional beers that the world needed to taste. Relationships were forged, excellent beer consumed and a union of brewers began to form. This is how BREWERS AND UNION was born.
Something was bothering us though. In the way friends do, we knocked it around over a couple of beers. The whole old school, old world tradition thing wasn’t us. We’re a bunch of creatives from a vibrant land of open spaces. No doubt the beer should be about provenance and centuries of expertise, but the brand had to be modern and vibrant. A simple vessel that let the beer do the talking.
Beer sorted, we needed a place to share it with our friends – to spread the love. Our first BREWERS & UNION bar opened in the basement of an 18th century church on Cape Town’s historic Riebeek Square. The church elders weren’t too impressed with the word “BREWERS” splashed on their wall, so we dropped it. AND UNION stuck. Beer and mates – the perfect UNION.
Since then, we’ve put down roots in 21 countries, with sales and logistics teams spreading the word and the beer far and wide. Working with traditional breweries we’ve made better beer for our friends, questioning old attitudes and looking at beer from a new perspective. As we’ve grown, so the AND UNION Drinks Company has evolved, delivering beverage experiences that challenge the status quo.
We’ve stayed true to our roots and remain unique. AND UNION connects us. It brings together our friends and supporters, uniting brewer, designer, artist, merchant and chef with passionate beer drinkers. All now a part of the AND UNION story.
Stick with us. We’re changing the world one drink at a time.