SA’s craft beer market is in a state of ferment, as small brewers — already strained in a niche market — feel the pinch of competition from a larger player. At the heart of the issue is what alcoholic beverages consultant Murray Slater calls "beer real estate": the number of draught taps available to brewers to dispense their product. And Devil’s Peak, one of SA’s largest craft brewers, has bought a lot of it recently. While some say this is simply good business sense, it’s left a slightly bitter taste for others. It took a few years for Devil’s Peak to find its feet in the Western Cape market after it was founded by Signal Hill Products in 2012. Having done that, its focus moved to broadening its base in SA and abroad — a move that required significant investment, says Devil’s Peak director Russell Boltman. Enter The Tap Room. A beer distributor, The Tap Room used to own — and now services — draught taps in bars and restaurants around SA, providing an outlet for smaller brewers to ...

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