By 1888, Anders Ohlsson has established himself as an icon in the brewery business. Mariendahl Brewery and Josephine’s Mill were leased to Ohlsson (with rights to purchase) and Ohlsson received the rights to access the water from Newlands Spring. Ohlsson also purchased Newlands Brewery from Daniel Cloete who had passed away, and also purchased Foresters Arms, by then a well established Inn, from David Mausen. In 1889, Mr Ohlsson received the leases of all canteens and public houses from Dr Michael Hiddingh, who had decided to shut down Cannon Breweries.
In 1889, Anders Ohlsson formed Ohlssons Cape Breweries Limited, which would be pivotal as a forerunner of our current brewers’ competition for market share.
All of the above is integral to the history and development of Foresters Arms, as it stands today.
Between 1889 and 1891, Ohlssons Cape Breweries demolished the original Foresters Arms cottage and built a larger zinc and brick building. It was converted into an off-sales and canteen and was used to sell their beer. This was a valuable commodity for Ohlssons Cape Breweries as it was their closest off-sales and was necessary because beer made in those days would turn sour after approximately 8 days. (If this happened, the owners of the canteens would add sugar to the mix and sell it to the ‘working folk’, who were generally ‘not white’, called it sugar beer, and sold it for a “tickey”. By adopting these questionable values, (by today’s standards), OCB traded successfully in making Forries the home of the ‘freshest beer in the Cape’. Ohlssons also built storehouses and stables for the transportation of beer thoughout the Cape Colony.
In 1895, Castle Breweries (to eventually become South African Breweries (SAB)) was founded and hit the market with their flagship beer, Castle Lager. This was a formidable challenge to Ohlsson’s, because Castle Lager’s aggressive marketing strategy and bold advertising was a threat to the well-established Ohlssons Lion Lager. To expand their market-share, Castle had also purchased the Martiensen Brewery in Cape Town.
Between 1899 and 1902, there was a lot of fierce competition between Ohlssons and Castle Breweries. By 1912 they began a tumultuous relationship wherein both companies struggled to survive the depression, shortages of labour, shortage of supplies, and attempted a joint venture in hops production.
In 1902, the Boer Wars broke out and Ohlssons hired guards to protect its storage facilities and prominent canteens in the Newlands area, the main one being Forries. The guards would sleep in the stables and would travel the main routes, guarding the beer from ‘Boer guerrilla attacks’.