The dream of bringing craft beer to Victoria Falls stems all the way back to 1905, when the impressively loony British explorer Aubyn Trevor-Battye (known as “Tree-Bat” to his friends) chose the Zambezi river for his summer holiday destination. Travelling alone, he spent several weeks trekking up from Cape Town to Victoria Falls by ox-wagon and steam train. When he finally made it, he’d built up a prodigious thirst. Convinced that only a cold ale would slake it, he embarked on a mission to uncover a real beer in Victoria Falls. He failed. Disappointed, he wrote to his wife describing the Falls as “a perfectly splendid place, but one that would be much improved by the promulgation of a decent ale”.
More than a century later, his descendants began their quest to produce the first real ales in the Falls. Beginning with the little-known Miombo Craft Beer Club (whose secretive members developed a coded handshake so complex that it couldn’t be undertaken on less than 6 pints of craft beer), they honed their skills while developing a small but fanatically loyal group of followers. One evening, several pints into a “creative storyboarding session”, the plan was hatched. “Forsooth, the time has come. We must away to the Falls!”, one cried. No-one recalls exactly who spoke, or why he adopted such Shakespearian terms, but none disagreed. And so, armed with little more than a hand-drawn plan on the back of an envelope and a pounding hangover, they set off the next day to make their homes, and their beer, in the Falls.
Today, the River Brewery has expanded beyond all recognition. Under the able, if eccentric, leadership of its Head Brewer Lionel, and a full-time team of nearly 1 assistant (weekday mornings only), the brewery produces a diverse range of fine craft beers. These beers can be found at several outlets in the Victoria Falls, as well as at the Brewery’s own bar, the River. Tree-Bat may be long gone, but we think he would be happy that the perfectly splendid Victoria Falls have now finally been improved by the promulgation of several decent ales.