LAGER BEER – FIRST 25 YEARS
The role of the rounding pair of Delta Corporation Limited cannot be overestimated. They swelled the fountainhead of the vast Rhodesian Breweries in 1946. from which was to flow the diverse interests of Delta Corporation in 1978 through to its undoubted success in 1999. It has come a long way – there is still further to go — but there is a direct line from the two men who chose to seek their fortune in a dusty. ill-equipped town 100 years ago.
The company bought 12 freehold sites valued at £3 000. Plant and equipment was ordered from Germany and transported to Salisbury by ox-wagon from the port of Beira, Mocambique.
The Berlin College of Brewers approved the building plans and by August 1898 the foundation stone of the new brewery had been laid in Cameron Street by the mayor W.E. Fairbridge, who was editor of The Rhodesia Herald. The initial building, one of the show pieces of the country, with a 34-foot high central reservoir tower, cost £6 000. In January 1899. as reported in The Rhodesia Herald. all the machinery had arrived and brewing could begin. The manager. German master brewer Stanislaus Schwartz. using the very good well-water available in the grounds, adapted the manufacturing processes to local conditions.
Salisbury Luger Beer cry & Ice Factory opens
The factory aimed to supply a good sound beer, adapted to the climate. It also provided ice for hospitals, hotels and houses. The brewery, with many additions and alterations, served the country until 1960.
Brewing started in late April 1899 and from 1 May lager beer was sold in all stores at five shillings a gallon in seven-gallon barrels, nine shillings a dozen for small bottles and 13 shillings a dozen for large bottles. Bottles were scarce so the brewery charged a deposit of two shillings a dozen for small bottles and three shillings for the large. The accounts for the six months ended 30 June 1900 showed a turnover of £10 161 19s.7d. and a net profit of £4 084 17s. 4d.
By 1900 the partners, Susman and Rosenthal decided to float the company to form a limited liability company. One hundred thousand shares valued at £1 each were sold of which 10 000 shares were reserved for Rhodesia. Salisbury (Rhodesia) Lager Beer Brewery Limited was successfully launched in November 1900.
London directors were Henry Brack and J.J. Rogers. local board members were T. Meikle. L. Susman and A. Rosenthal. The registered office was in London. and Louis Susman was managing director.
Ready for Christmas
Sales in January 1900 amounted to 4 056 gallons and by June the monthly output had risen steadily to 6 614 gallons. Total sales in the period amounted to £9 890 4s. 10d. while Ice and sundries” brought in another £271 14s. 9d. In September a branch supplying beer in casks and bottles was opened in Gwelo with E.G. Areskong as manager.
In December 1902, Rosenthal, managing director of Salisbury Brewery, announced the opening of a depot in Bulawayo, the introduction of Pilsner and Munich Beer, and the export of beer to Mafeking, Vryburg and Kimberley.
Llewellyn Lloyd became Salisbury manager in June 1904 and, in December. Lager and Stout were sold at eight shillings a dozen pints. The Rhodesia Herald wrote:
“A splendid and well-matured quality brew in casks is ready for Christmas consumers.”
The quality was good but the business was faulty. because in November 1905. the High Court ordered the company to be liquidated with Lloyd as liquidator. Tenders to buy the property were offered