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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid