Northern Cape couple who died of home-brewed beer loved each other dearly

05 May 2020 - 13:40 By Iavan Pijoos
Tony Hilliar and Alida Fouchè died at the weekend. It is believed their deaths were caused by drinking homemade beer.
Tony Hilliar and Alida Fouchè died at the weekend. It is believed their deaths were caused by drinking homemade beer.
Image: Tony Hilliar/Facebook

Whenever you saw them in town or at the beach, they always held hands.

This is how Pastor Bertus de Jager from Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape will remember Tony Hilliar and Alida Fouchè, who died at the weekend.

Police said on Monday it was suspected that Hilliar and his fiancée died after consuming homemade beer. Two empty bottles of homemade brew have been sent for forensic testing.

Police spokesperson Brig Mohale Ramatseba said Fouchè was found dead in their flat. Hilliar, who was found seriously ill, died in hospital.

Hilliar was from Upington but worked as an estate agent in the coastal town. De Jager said he had known Fouchè for more than six years.

“She was a very reserved person who cared a lot about people. She called me a few times in the past and asked me to help people in need, even if she was in need herself.

“She loved children. They were always close to her heart. The community is extremely sad and we are praying for their families.”

Citizens have been warned to be careful when brewing their own pineapple or apple beers. Home brewing has spiked with the ban on alcohol sales.

Brew master and founder of Brewsters Craft, Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, said there was nothing wrong with brewing your own beer, but only “if you do it right”.

“If you look at our African cultures, there are people who have been making home brews for years. Things are out of control during the lockdown. There are now many people wanting to produce their own homemade beverages.”

Nxusani-Mawela said many people did not know the correct way.

“It’s a natural process that you can’t rush. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people don’t properly clean and sterilise the utensils they are using, which could lead to contamination by bacteria. Even though the bacteria might not kill you, they can spoil your product or make it unfit for human consumption.”

She said brewing usually takes about five days.

Nxusani-Mawela said brews become undrinkable when they are incorrectly stored or allowed to stand for too long. 

“After you have produced it, the quicker you consume it the better, but in moderation. It is a product that will go off with time.”

Key things to look out for before drinking homemade beer is to check if there is any fungal growth or if the smell is "off", she said. 

“Always take a sip and wait before consuming the entire product. People need to read more and learn about brewing.”


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