News / Africa

South Africa's First Black-Owned Brewery Opens for Business

South Africa's First Black-Owned Brewery Opens for Businessi
X
December 21, 2013 12:04 AM
South Africa is a country that loves its beer. It's a product that has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry for commercial beverage companies. But now there's a growing popularity for craft beers made by smaller microbreweries which are opening across the country. VOA's Chris Simkins introduces us to a South African brewer and entrepreneur who is making history while looking to strike gold.

South Africa's First Black-Owned Brewery Opens for Business

Chris Simkins
South Africa is a country that loves its beer.  It's a product that has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry for commercial beverage companies.  But now there's a growing popularity for craft beers made by smaller microbreweries which are opening across the country. 

There's a new offering for South Africa's growing thirst for good beer. It’s called Soweto Gold, and it’s the creation of master brewer and businessman Ndumiso Madlala. He's making history by opening South Africa's first black-owned and locally brewed beer in the Johannesburg suburb of Soweto.

"A lot of people were very surprised that a black person can brew beer," he said. "So I am very proud that I have been able to demonstrate to other African people that it is possible to venture into brewing as an African person, and I so hope that a lot of people are going to follow suit in the brewing field."

Madlala has a chemical engineering background. He learned about the business as a master brewer for the world's second-largest brewing company.

"The determination and the career path that I followed actually helped me to gain a lot of experience which I am using now to start my own business," he said.

Madlala says he combined his technical knowledge with his knowledge of South Africans’ palate.

"They prefer a little bit of sweetness in the beer and they love fruity beers," he said. "It [Soweto Gold] is a craft beer. It is different because it is much more richer, it is very fruity.  Yes, it is less hoppy and it has a very nice lingering sweetness in the background."

The early reviews of his main lager -- and of a seasonal cherry-flavored brew -- are positive. One beer drinker says he will not "drink another beer except this. It’s the way to go."

Madlala says he struggled for three years to find investors. Many worried about giving him money for the brewery, fearing Soweto Gold would be crushed by the big beer makers. But he was determined, and finally convinced Swedish investors to help him launch his company.  He says he never gave up on his dream.

"I have gone from door to door with investors," he said. "Some do not want to listen, and people just throwing the idea out, but I never gave up.  I kept the spirit up and kept moving, and look where I am today. So, whatever you do or whatever your passion is, never ever give up on your dream, no matter how difficult it is."

Madlala plans to hire 150 workers, exclusively from Soweto, by the end of January. His small brewery will produce about three million liters of beer a year.

Madlala's father says the beer is different than others. And he hopes his son’s success will help people in the community.

"First, I want him to uplift his family," he said. "Then, if he does well, he can also uplift the community where he was born."

The brewmaster of Soweto Gold says if this beer catches on here in South Africa he hopes to eventually sell it in England and the United States.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid