Archives For Beerhouse

Update: The space has been let and I welcome Baked on Long!

Long Street Popup SpacePop-Up Store on Long Street with liquor license available immediately until end of January with the possibility to extend it’s life!

This unique store is ca. 100 sqm plus a small courtyard, is available immediately under very flexible terms and including a valid liquor license for on consumption!

The price? It depends… Depending on your offer it could be equity into your bar business – if there’s a kickass idea that can draw in the crowds to Long Street. As founder of the Beerhouse and Long Street Association I got a real interest to draw new and old crowds back to Long Street and do our part. The ideal partner would build an exciting destination business around craft spirits and mixed drinks, that complements the leading craft beer variety, that we serveat Beerhouse upstairs. Hipster credentials not required.

Please send a brief (2-3 pages) business plan, ideally with plans, pictures or mood boards and an intended timeline to randolf@beerhouse.co.za.Long Street Popup Space

See this 360° photo for a good impression – it’s shot standing in the existing divider wall, which can easily be removed.

Picture from the back of the store

Ground plan:Plan of Popup Shop / Bar at 219 Long Street

Beerhouse and Randolf Jorberg in the Weekend ArgusIt’s not often, that a journalist manages to listen and ‘get you’ in a way, that his writing describes you better than you could do yourself. But Michael Morris is one of these skilled writers and his article appeared in the Weekend Argus on 31st of October.

A dream of pulling the city a pint

From online business in Bochum’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’ to drawing a brew in the city

EMPORIUM: A veteran of the German online industry, Randolf Jorberg first came to Cape Town in 2007 and, since then, has enjoyed the freedom to realise ideas incorporating the best of two worlds. Bored with building yet another online business and excited by his OMClub party where every year more than 4 000 online marketers get together in Cologne, the idea for Beerhouse was born.
That’s not quite true in a strictly temporal sense, but he fell in love with the street in those first hours, spent the next few years living in the city for six months in every 12, and, eventually, in 2012, packed his bags in Bochum, his home town in the Ruhr, and settled in Cape Town for good.
Long Street was the lodestar, the street where, today, Jorberg presides over the landmark Beerhouse on Long, an emporium of ales and lagers and everything in between, which he dreamed up as a more or less phantom notion in a late-night reverie in a Heidelberg hotel room while holidaying with his South African girlfriend in the greater Rhine Valley. Not for nothing does he refer to himself on his calling card simply as “head dreamer”. Unlike most dreamers, though, this one is a doer of note.
He was still at school – on the Baltic coast, the source of his love of the sea – when he began his own online marketing company.
Returning to Bochum after scraping through his end-ofschool exams, he devoted all his energy to his internet business – gulli.com, which he later sold – and living life to the full in the heart of the city’s famed pedestrianised entertainment zone, dubbed the Bermuda Triangle (“because so many souls have got lost there”), a legendary café district that’s home to between 40 and 50 bars. If running his own shop was not a serious prospect at the time, his Bochum experience was a subliminal influence on his thinking about the possibilities and the mechanics of vibrant, well-run inner-city entertainment precincts. One ingredient that was missing in Bochum was the sea. “I started looking around for a place where I could live close to the sea, in a bigger city than Bochum, and where I could speak either German or English… because I was too lazy to learn Spanish or something like that. That’s when I came across Cape Town.” He visited, booked into that Long Street hotel, and his life changed.

Even after selling gulli.com in 2008, he earned his living through other digital businesses in Germany, including iPhone stores in Bochum and Berlin. Jorberg, in fact, became the country’s second biggest iPhone retailer. In all this time, though, as a keen consumer, he nurtured the somewhat romantic notion of owning his own bar. “My accountants kept warning me, ‘ Randolf… we can’t keep off-setting all these entertainment expenses’, and I’d always say: ‘ It’s market research, I’m planning to open my own bar.’ They never believed me.” Then came the holiday to the Rhine Valley, and an immersion in the region’s rich and varied beer culture, with wonderful bars that specialised in local beers. Was there any such thing in South Africa? He wasn’t sure, so impulsively contacted some friends back in Cape Town. Nope, they responded, there wasn’t really any such thing. “That got me thinking: well, why not?
“Later on, back at the hotel, I was a bit bored, and decided to register ‘beerhouse.co.za’ and then redirected that to a newly created Facebook page with a single line saying, ‘Forty different beers coming to Long Street’ and invited my Cape Town friends to ‘like’ it.” Over the next few days, the page garnered more than 40 likes, but Jorberg was still running his digital business and didn’t give the beer project any serious thought, not initially anyway. That changed when he suddenly became aware that complete strangers – a beer blogger among them, and someone’s “rugby mates” whom he had never met in his life – were “talking about a guy called Randolf who’s starting a beer house in town”. “As an online marketer, I know that the biggest challenge for any business is getting your idea out there, and that everything else hinges on that.” The phantom notion began to materialise, Jorberg began to look around for a site, eventually settling on the present one; the space was just what he needed – though a brand new office-style ceiling the landlord was very proud of was, Jorberg knew, “the first thing we would have to rip out”.
The lease was signed in November 2012, but it took until the second half of the next year to get the show on the road. It was only in March 2013 that he managed to pull together a team – and find his key beer expert (Jorberg’s “beer whisperer”), Murray Slater. The bar opened on International Beer Day in August. “It was busy from day one, and it picked up from there.”
Beer is not all that’s on offer, but it’s the speciality, an offering of some 140 different brands, 25 of them on tap, and 99 bottle- top beers. In all, between 80 and 90 percent of the fare is locally produced craft beer. There are also rare or limited beers – including, for instance, an imported oak-barrel aged tipple that goes for R400 a bottle – and low- or nonalcohol brands. At monthly “Meet the Brewers” sessions, there is also a focus on food-and-beer pairing accompanied by specially tailored six-course meals.
On the strength of the urging of some Joburg customers on opening night, Jorberg and his team opened a second Beerhouse at Fourways in Gauteng 11 months later. Today, with a staff of 110 – about 50 intensively trained “beer navigators” at each of the two shops and, on the face of it, a top-heavy management of 10 – the Beerhouse project is poised for dramatic expansion. “We are about to sign two more leases, one in the southern peninsula and one in the Joburg CBD, and our management team is looking at plans to build 20 more shops in the next two years. “It’s an ambitious plan, but we are building structures to support it. As part of that, we are looking at starting the first ‘crowd investing’ scheme in South Africa. Crowd investing is big in Germany, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work here. Effectively, it means making it possible for everyone to fulfil the dream of owning a bar, finding customers who are willing to invest and become shareholders in their local bar.” There were “regulatory issues” in South Africa, but Jorberg said he was confident they could be overcome. “If it’s such a popular financing method overseas, why should it not work here?” Bound up with Jorberg’s optimism is an acknowledgement that the entertainment business – in Long Street especially – is not without worrisome features.
This was brought home with tragic force when Beerhouse doorman, 32- year- old Congolese resident Joe-Louis Kanyona, was stabbed to death outside the venue one Saturday night in June. “That had a massive impact… to see someone’s life taken that easily. And something has to be done to make sure that does not happen again. Long Street is in a bit of a shaky state at moment because of security. That’s the big thing, and we need to change that for the better.”
Jorberg is a key figure in a new drive by local businesses to confront the security risks. Thinking back to his first enchanting experience of Long Street, he said: “We all have good memories of it, but the truth is, if you go today, you can have a negative experience… someone trying to sell you drugs, or trying to pick your pocket. And we and other businesses know that if we don’t act on this now, there won’t be any business here in a few years’ time.”

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 KenyaMore than 1500 entrepreneurs and policy makers from all(!) over the world flocked to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, from July 24th-26th. Due to my affiliation with the Ampion Venture Bus, I was privileged to be invited to represent Beerhouse and Springlab at this mega-event, hosted and (except flights) fully paid for by the US Government and sponsors.

The event was attended by US President Barack Obama, and several other well known figures and celebrities, amongst them Akon, Shark Tank judges, Miss Americas, etc. But first and foremost it was entrepreneurs from all stages of growth, self-made billionaires meeting rural farmers from Africa. Without knowing stats, I’d guess, that half of the audience was US American and Kenyan, while the rest of us were coming from all corners of the world, no continent left uncovered.

If you were now expecting a huge celebrity spotting event, you did not attend the right place. With the exception of Obama himself (who was obviously talking point #1 and closely guarded during his half day stay on the UN compound) they attended their panels and mingled with the crowds afterwards, but the strength of the event was the fact, that entrepreneurs from all possible backgrounds got together and spoke one universal language of creating progress, learnings, challenges, growth and opportunities together.

So I fit in really well with my Afrogerman background and could relate well – though I accidentally managed to stand out and got taught a lesson in personal branding:

Randolf at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 in Kenya

My tailormade yellow suite that I purchased as a 200 US$ joke on my Thailand-India-Kenya trip earlier in 2015 turned me into something of a talking point, making me explain the yellow colour, that’s representing the Beerhouse brand colour. I really don’t ever wear a suit and my decision to take it to #GES2015 was based on the formality of the event and that my second and only other suit is not home in South Africa, but stored in my german apartment, in case of family funerals I might have to attend.

On day #1 I was dressed in jeans and repeatedly mistaken for my doppelgänger – the ‘White African’ Eric Hersman, who spoke on a morning panel.
On day #2 I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of people approaching me and asking about the reason for wearing the full suit, leading into many interesting conversations and spontaneous photo shoots.
On day #3 this continued, but I was now also approached by people, who heard the story of a yellow german / south african / beer merchant / incubator / hospitality operator from others and approached me offering valuable introductions to beer or hospitality people or even an interest to license the concept.

This made I met another doppelgänger in red (who even got his shoes right!) and my tweeted picture of the United Colours of #GES2015Kenya went viral… Continue Reading…

Beerhouse LogoWhat takes a well established Online Marketer to become a restaurateur? The truth is, that while I am still involved in quite some online activities, my Beerhouse is here to stay and about to branch to Joburg and beyond… I am very happy with our baby, that opened 8 months ago on August 2nd 2013 and – because that’s often a topic of my conversation – would like to share, how the idea of Beerhouse started during a trip to Germany:

brad-anonymized-beerhouse-historyOther than Babies, the Beerhouse concept took a solid 16 months from conception to birth. It was exactly two years ago on April 2nd, 2012, that I was sitting with my (then pregnant) girlfriend in a beer bar in Heidelberg, discussing the various available Beers and their stories and wondering why no similar place exists in Cape Town. Quick market research through text messages and Facebook followed and I realized, that there might indeed be a gap in the South African market.

Thanks to the pregnancy, we went back to the hotel quite early that evening and I reserved the most obvious domain name beerbar.co.za redirected it to a new Facebook page, invited my Capetonian friends and posted some beer related content, before going to bed.

I couldn’t be bothered to work on the Beerbar idea when we returned from our Eurotrip, as pregnancy and Jane and my work on the OMClub party took up all my time, but I did notice the friends congratulating me on the new bar business.

varnia-randolf-eliza-festival-of-beer

Beerhouse Team at the CT Festival of Beer 2012: Not in the picture: Jane

Just a few days after the birth of my daughter it happened: A family member told me, that some of his rugby mates asked him, ‘whether he heard about these mavericks, that were planning to open a beer bar with more than 40 different beers’. Beer blogger Joakim had written about us, although we had no location, no experience in the hospitality industry – we did nothing, but promise beer variety and I realized it wasn’t only friends & family, that liked my idea. We had planted an idea into peoples mind and they actually really wanted a beerbar with 40+ different beers! We finally started to seriously turn a drunk crackpot idea into a business.

restaurant-to-letEven without any experience in the industry, it is obvious, that a successful bar business starts with a good location and Long Street is where it’s at. After looking at smaller available vacancies, we finally called the ‘Restaurant space to let’ number, that we walked past so many times and found a fascinating venue we knew would work.

Few days after signing the contract for 223 Long Street we still had no real plan how to open a bar, but were ready to spread the word. We printed blue Beerbar T-Shirts and visited the Cape Town Festival of Beer, where we met all the brewers, that are now our best partners for the first time and we also found our vision: give our guests at the Beerhouse a 365 day a year beer festival experience and be the tasting room for the South African craft beer industry.

beerhouse-coming-soonWith the new name finalised we decided to not wait for a logo and the Artads artists painted the name, two beer mugs and the opening soon message on the building, that would stay visible way past the April due date we originally anticipated. We invited all our new beer loving friends to the Beerhouse fundraising & christening party and were able to collect more than R5000 in donations. With all this exciting momentum, we launched into 2013, knowing that our tiny team, wouldn’t be able to do it all themselves and would need to grow. Once again fortune was in our favour and Murray joined us after just returning to Cape Town from a career and his own restaurant in London

finding-murrayand the rest is history… 😉

Written for the Beerhouse-blog, to be continued over there.