It's a very 'unisex' craft beer: Soweto Gold's Ndumiso Madlala

11 February 2017 - 02:00 By Lucy Sarah Heaney
Ndumiso Madlala is an innovation-driven brewer, keen on expanding his ale, Soweto Gold.
Ndumiso Madlala is an innovation-driven brewer, keen on expanding his ale, Soweto Gold.
Image: Supplied

With a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Twente in The Netherlands (where his thesis introduced cutting-edge beer filtration methods), qualifications from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London, and extensive experience in the brewing industry, you’d be hard pressed to find a South African who knows more about beer than Ndumiso Madlala.

As the chief beer officer, brewer, and cofounder of MadMead Brewing Co, Ndumiso is the genius behind Soweto Gold beers.

We chat with him to find out what’s brewing.

What inspired you to start brewing Soweto Gold?

I was sitting with a group of students in Burton-on-Trent in the UK and each person stood up to introduce themselves. They were from all over the world, and they each came from a small micro-brewing family or tradition.

I realised how popular microbreweries are, especially in the UK, and how lacking that was in our townships. When I met my business partner, Josef Schmid, in 2013, he shared my passion for beer and creating exceptional local beers, and Soweto Gold was born.


What is Soweto Gold all about?

We were incredibly happy to secure the Ubuntu Kraal Brewery in Orlando West as the home of Soweto Gold because it really is all about creating signature brews in a traditional African way right here at home. From the start, we wanted to create something that can be enjoyed by everyone, so it’s a very “unisex” beer.

By working to help dispel the myth that women shouldn’t drink beer, we also feel we’re helping to grow the beer industry, which is a win-win for everyone. The beer industry is huge in South Africa, and by creating more beer drinkers, you’re increasing demand and therefore job creation.

What’s next for Soweto Gold?

We’re a very innovation-driven company, so we’re always looking for uniqueness. Right now, our focus in on satisfying the South African community and getting our beers to all four corners of the country, and this month we’ll be releasing our Cherry Ale in bottles for the first time – in time for Valentine’s Day. We’ve also got more exciting flavours on the cards to be released this year, so watch this space.


This article is adapted from one originally published in one of the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit, like YourNeighbourhoodZA on Facebook and follow YourHoodZA on Twitter.