It’s no secret that the craft beer industry has taken a massive knock during the current pandemic. Just when things started to stabilise after the initial ban that devastated many brewers, the industry was hit with a second unexpected and immediate ban. We sat down with four brewers to learn more about how they are weathering the storm. Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela is an SAB veteran, Master Brewer and the owner of Brewsters Craft and the newly launched Tokolazi Beer.
It has been a very tough 100 days; an emotional rollercoaster of note. As things were about to start looking up, we had another ban.
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There is power behind our beer. The founder and brewmaster of Tolokazi Beer, Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela (@apiwe_thebrewster) is a very well known figure in the South African beer scene. With over a decade of brewing experience, you can be sure the Tolokazi Beer range has been crafted with great attention to detail and passion. Tolokazi is all about celebrating African women and the role the daughters of Africa play in brewing #womenwhobrew #africanbeer #celebratewomen #microbrewery #brewingbeer #craftbeer #southafricanwomen
During the initial lockdown/ban we started packaging hand sanitisers at the brewery and launched our online brewing training. When we got to alert Level 3, we shifted focus back to brewing. With the current ban, we are working on launching a non-alcoholic offering.
Fortunately we have managed to keep all our guys (for now) – not sure for how much longer, though. [During] the initial lockdown we benefited from the UIF TERS, but haven’t heard anything about similar relief this time.
Yes, the country needed time to prepare. I do believe that even then we shouldn’t have introduced a total ban. During the initial lockdown, we should have introduced restricted sale of alcohol – restrict trading hours or days – instead of a total ban.
Unfortunately, when the ban was lifted, some people behaved irresponsibly and thus affected everyone else. The COVID-19 cases keep increasing and unfortunately it seems alcohol is being singled out as the main cause. I think had we kept the curfew in place, plus maintained police visibility when the ban was initially lifted, things would have been in better control. The second ban without any notice was very unfair. Brewing is a natural process that takes place over weeks and it can’t just be switched on and off like a light switch.
Things are very, very tough and don’t look promising at all. I am hoping this is not the end and hoping some will survive this and carry on out the other side.
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Life's too short to hate Monday. Over the weekend we ran a few quiz questions. Thanks for answering and engaging. Congratulations to @the_beermonkey you've won yourself a Tolokazi Beer Mixed case for answering the question. How cool is that!? I hope we've made your Monday just a little bit better.👍 Please DM us your details so we can get your beer to you.
I don’t think things will ever get back to normal. We will have to live our new normal, where sales are more online with less people coming by for brewery tours and tastings, which is unfortunate.
Breweries will have to innovate and create non-alcoholic offerings. The other positive is seeing more people having interest in home-brewing and craft beer.
We are working on an exciting non-alcoholic brew to replace our originally planned Women’s Month special brew. This will be launched before the end of the month under the Tolokazibeer range.