Obakeng Malope, a member of the Craft Beer Association of South Africa. Picture Supplied.
Obakeng Malope, a member of the Craft Beer Association of South Africa. Picture Supplied.

’There’s more to beer that getting drunk’

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Aug 21, 2021

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WHETHER you want a marshmallow, muffin, chocolate or even ice-cream flavoured beer, the sky is only limited to your imagination when you treat the alcoholic beverage with the respect it deserves.

This is according to Obakeng Malope, a member of the Craft Beer Association of South Africa, who said she wanted youth in the country to take beer more seriously than simply drinking to get drunk.

Malope said even though the alcohol industry in general had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on alcohol sales, there were many more opportunities for people to gain from.

“South African people need education in terms of beer. They need to understand that beer is more than an alcoholic beverage, it is an art. Beer is not something simply to be consumed and you get drunk off and do reckless things.

“For us, we understand the method of making beer and we appreciate this art form and the artists who make it, because they create jobs and bolster tourism in their communities.”

She said while many people used beer to communicate with ancestors or celebrate a moment by having a few drinks, this beverage was just as diverse as wine.

From choosing which beer to pair with a starter meal, main course or even dessert, Malope said the possibilities were endless to learn and choose from.

Malope said she was inspired by youngsters and in particular young women who had taken the brave step of making their mark in the male-dominated arena, such as Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, better known for being South Africa's first person to earn a National Diploma in clear fermented beverages, and the first black women to found a microbrewery.

Even though smaller brands that cropped up were eventually taken over by giants in the industry, space still existed for youngsters to make their mark and bring something different to the table.

"This is a multi-billion rand industry and if it’s promoted in the right way and people are given an idea of the wealth of knowledge they can still learn about beer, we can make a significant change."

Of the concerns regarding the impact of alcohol, Malope said she was dismayed that it was getting a bad reputation considering anything done in excess often led to problems.

"We need to paint a clearer picture to those misusing beer and other alcoholic beverages, that their actions not only rob us of learning the benefits it could have, but also expose them to how large a value chain they are crippling with their reckless behaviour. From farmers who grow the hops and their workers, to breweries big and small and tavern owners, all of us lose if we only think of getting drunk when we beer and other alcohol."

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