A group of men, apparently cast by an advertising agency to look like either Eddie Murphy or Patrick Swayze, are sharing a joke while holding cans" and bottles and mugs of Lion Lager. Back in the winter of 1989, this was front-page news. Nelson Mandela was still behind bars and SA was a belligerent, isolated place when SA Breweries started making multiracial advertisements. SAB was challenging the laager mentality — with a lager. And getting those beers in the hands of all potential consumers was the thing the brewer knew exactly how to do. Founded in 1895 to cater to the demand of Joburg’s thirsty fortune-seekers and listed two years later as the JSE’s first industrial stock, the brewer had for nearly a century known only one market. But it knew that market inside-out. Though apartheid was still officially in force in 1989 its days were numbered. Soon the Berlin Wall would fall, pulling open the Iron Curtain and forcing South Africans to the negotiating table. A return to the globa...

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