Meet Apiwe Nxusani Mawela, the brewmaster behind SAB's limited edition Women's Month beer
Under the banner of Brewing the Bold, SAB have assembled a stellar cast of five women who are dominating in their respective fields to share their expertise and brew a once-off, limited edition beer in honour of Women’s Month.
Bold Brew is a beer designed and brewed entirely by women, that embodies what it means to be a woman in contemporary South Africa. Today we tend to think of brewing (and beer in general) as being the domain of men, but up until the 18th century, beer was brewed primarily by women – and enjoyed by everyone.
“We wanted to make a beer that embodied the characteristics of strong, independent women,” said Pranisha Maharaj SAB & AB InBev’s Corporate Reputation Manager. “We gave the public a chance to vote for ingredients that would form part of a ‘secret brew’, and then we put the results into the hands of a team of talented women to create both the beer and its packaging.”The beer is available exclusively at the SAB World of Beer in Newtown, while stocks last.
I shared a Bold Brew with 35 year-old, mother of two, Apiwe Nxusani Mawela, who spoke about her role in this exciting project and what Women’s Month means for her in terms of breaking down oppressive gender stereotypes.
Can you please give some background to what you do?
In 2015, I started my own company, Brewsters, which focused purely on providing training and consultation services to the craft beer industry. Since then the company has grown into three segments. In addition to accredited brewer training courses and consultancy services, Brewsters now offers contract brewing in our own fully equipped 1000l brewery in Roodepoort as well as full laboratory services to other microbreweries to ensure the quality of their products.
What was your first thought when you heard about the Brewing the Bold project?
My first thought was that this sounds like an amazing project, not only for women in the beer industry but also for women in general. I hope that this initiative provides inspiration to other women in the beer industry and shows them that there are no limits to what you can achieve. They can become great brewers, brewmasters, hop growers, barley breeders, and these positions should be the norm rather than an exception.
Many people forget throughout time, it has been women who were responsible for making beer, especially here in Africa.
After meeting the rest of the Brewing the Bold team I’m happy to say that the excitement is warranted and I can’t wait to see the final product.
What is your role in the Brewing the Bold project?
Given my experience within the industry as a brewmaster, my role was to ensure that we brewed the best possible beer. One that represents and communicates all the key elements of the project in a refreshing beer that ticks all the right boxes.
What does Women’s Month represent to you?
Women’s Month is an important reminder of the power that we have as women, to not only influence change but also be instrumental in driving that change. It is a time for our country to reflect on how society treats women and to focus our energies on creating equal opportunities in the workplace.
During the Brewing the Bold project, I realised that women - regardless of background, race, industry - are all facing the same challenges, which could be better tackled if we tried to work together more.
What's your advice to other women to continue rising up in their industries?
Never ever give up and never listen to anyone who says you’re not good enough.
Often women business leaders are under closer scrutiny and are sometimes even expected to fail. Of course, this is totally unfair, but the best response is to push even harder for excellence.
I believe that women should support each other in business and do all that they can to create space for more women to thrive in the corporate world.