Breweries, Politics and Identity: The History Behind Namibian Beer

Breweries, Politics and Identity: The History Behind Namibian Beer tells how beer has been transformed from an icon of white settlers into a symbol of the independent Namibian nation.
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Title: Breweries, Politics and Identity
Subtitle: The History Behind Namibian Beer
Author: Tycho van der Hoog
Genre: History
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basel, Switzerland 2019
ISBN 9783906927121 / ISBN 978-3-906927-12-1
Softcover, 17 x 24 cm, 128 pages, several b/w photos

About: Breweries, Politics and Identity: The History Behind Namibian Beer

Not a beer drinker? No problem. Breweries, Politics and Identity looks through a warm amber-coloured lens to bring us a view not only of the beer industry but of a broad history of Namibia from the late 19th century to the present. To be sure, the establishment of breweries and the production of beer are in the centre of this view but there is much to be seen and enjoyed beyond the imperatives of a fermentation industry. The book has great strengths. Tycho van der Hoog has collected a wonderful set of historical photographs that serve to illustrate the history of particular breweries, their staff and the changing nature of beer production.

But these images also provide compelling vignettes of German settler society and the development of racial capitalism. We see how transport, central to the brewing industry, develops over time from a construction cart renovating Southwest Breweries during the Depression led by a team of donkeys in-spanned with a zebra to heavy articulated mine-proof Mercedes Benz trucks in the 1980s. Context is clearly drawn. These delivery cum military vehicles moved bottles of lager produced in Windhoek to the country's northern border with Angola during the liberation war. The author also has a good ear and has gleaned fascinating tales of intrigue as breweries competed in the market place almost from the inception of the Namibian liquor industry.

From the 1950s to the late 1990s, fierce battles between South West Breweries (later Namibian Breweries Ltd or NBL) and the South African Breweries (SAB) over brands and markets reached fever pitch in a series of beer wars. In some ways, the Namibian story mirrors that of the brewing industry in South Africa, but still an uniquely Namibian tale ist told. Dozens of people have shared their memories and opened their family albums enabling him to bring out the local, the quirky and the nationalist elements of this history. Breweries, Politics and Identity: The History Behind Namibian Beer is fun at the same time as it is serious and scholarly.

Content: Breweries, Politics and Identity: The History Behind Namibian Beer

Foreword by Anne Mager

The Importance of Beer
The Research Project
Prelude: A Centuries-long Tradition of Home Brewing
The Advent of Formal Breweries, 1900-1920
The Arrival of European Settlers
How to Establish a Brewery
The Beer Triangle
The Great War
The Beer War
The Formation of South West Breweries
A Changing Beer Market, 1920-1970
Legal Consequences for Beer
Three New Breweries
Economic Depression
World War II
Problematic Liquor Law
The Change of the 1960s
Namibia Breweries' Transformation, 1970-2019
A South West Company
Challenge from South African Breweries
The North Opens Up
A New Direction
The Beer War is Back
The Long Road to a SAB Brewery
An Ongoing Rivalry
New Developments
List of figures
Appendix 1: Overview of Breweries
Appendix 2: Traditional Brewing Recipes