Soweto Gold

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT - With a com­bi­na­tion

of wa­ter, yeast and bar­ley hops, brew master Ndu­miso Mad­lala and en­tre­pre­neur Josef Sch­mid, who met through a sim­i­lar project, brewed up a golden am­ber liq­uid − known to beer lovers as Soweto Gold.

“Our aim was to cre­ate, brew and sell unique and dis­tinc­tive re­gional beers. Beers that is set to usher in a new era in the South African town­ship l i quor in­dus­try,” says Sch­mid.

“In an ef­fort to es­tab­lish the Soweto Gold brand we started brew­ing Soweto Gold – su­pe­rior lager at a third party brew­ery in Oc­to­ber 2013 and launched the Soweto Gold brand to the mar­ket at the Soweto Beer Fes­ti­val later that year.

The majority black-owned business pro­cured and com­mis­sioned its own mi­cro-man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in 2014 and moved to the Ubuntu Kraal Brew­ery, i n Or­lando West, i n Soweto, in Au­gust 2014.

“Start­ing our own mi­cro­brew­ery took guts and great sacrifice,” says the beer e nthu­si­ast . “Ndu­miso quit his safe and se­cure job in cor­po­rate brew­ing and I left my job in hos­pi­tal­ity. We then pooled our funds, sold off as­sets and raised funds to set out on our new jour­ney.”

Although both th­ese en­trepreneurs have tasted the sweet suc­cess of their craft larger, Sch­mid says they have also ex­pe­ri­enced bit­ter chal­lenges of a cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive op­er­a­tion.

“Money, money, money has been our big­gest bar­rier to growth,” he ex­plains.

“Cur­rently we are bleed­ing, we are bleed­ing beer and we know that it is go­ing to take some time be­fore we start break­ing even.”

De­spite the bar­ri­ers to growth, MadMead Brew­ing Company’s brew­ing ca­pac­ity i s ex­pand­ing to pro­duce 50 000 l i tres of beer a month by March.

Fur­ther­more, MadMead plans to make i t s beers, which are cur­rently only avail­able on tap, avail­able in re­tail pack­ag­ing and add an ad­di­tional r ange of a r t i s a n brew t o its col­lec­tion.

“T h e ex p o n e n t i a l growth the craft in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing is just the be­gin­ning. Brew­eries are pop­ping up, beers are get­ting bet­ter and the pub­lic is thirsty.”

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