Cheers to SA's first black female brewmaster

Apiwe Nxusani Mawela is shaking up the craft beer industry

17 September 2017 - 00:00 By Staff reporter

I am a proudly 1984 vintage.
I am the first person in South Africa to complete the national diploma in clear fermented beverages; first black female shareholder/co-owner of a microbrewery; first black South African accredited as a training provider by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling; and first black person to be certified as a judge within the beer judging and certification programme.
When I was younger I wanted to be a psychologist then changed and wanted to be a doctor, but never imagined myself as a brewmaster. I didn't even know there was a field of study called biotechnology.
A sorghum-based beverage showcases my brewing skills and highlights traditional African brewing practices. It is refreshing with loads of complexity.
I am not much of a drinker, more a "beer taster". At my home, you will find a selection of beers as I like to experiment and experience different tastes.
When I trained and worked at SA Breweries, we made the beers consumers are familiar with. In 2011 I was exposed to the craft beer industry and got to brew and experiment with various beer styles. I grew to appreciate all the diverse styles - the different flavours and the food pairings.The best thing about our industry must be the people. We are a very tight-knit community that is open, friendly and very helpful.
The worst thing about the industry now is that many people want to make a quick buck and are producing beer of lesser quality.
I would like to see the industry continue to grow, and see more women being part of [it]. I would like to see more black brewers getting involved and see African brewers showcasing our own unique and special way of brewing and the great products we can make.

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