Pioneering Butterworth woman launching her Tolokazi Craft Beer in Bay

Brewster Craft founder Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela
SOMETHING’S BREWING: Brewster Craft founder Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela
Image: SUPPLIED

Growing up in Butterworth, where women have traditionally been the brewmasters for African traditional ceremonies, Tolokazi Craft Beer owner Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela never saw the practice as a potential business opportunity.

That is until she enrolled at Wits University to study microbiology and learnt she could infiltrate the largely male-dominated beer brewing industry.

This led to the establishment of Tolokazi Craft Beer, which Nxusani-Mawela will launch in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.

Tolokazi Craft beer is made under Brewsters Craft, founded by Nxusani-Mawela in 2015.

Tolokazi is Nxusani-Mawela’s clan name.

She said while traditional beer was predominately a women’s forte, the commercial side of brewing remained dominated by males.

“When I watched women brew traditional beer in Butterworth, it never interested me,” she said.

“It was only when I was already in this industry that I realised the science of beer making is the same back home and in the industry.

“It’s just that the women at home don’t necessarily understand the scientific aspect of it,” she said.

Nxusani-Mawela said that during an open day while she was in high school she had stumbled upon a microbiology stand and taken interest in it.

She secured a SA Breweries bursary to study at Wits and completed her honours at the University of Pretoria.

“When I finished at the University of Pretoria, I already had a job waiting for me at SAB and that’s where I later headed a brewery within SAB and was given the freedom to come up with my own recipes,” she said.

Nxusani-Mawela founded the Brewhogs brewery with four partners before starting Brewsters Craft.

“Brewster is a term we use to refer to female brewers and Brewsters Craft’s aim was to celebrate women in the beer industry, focusing on training and consulting.

“When I received funding in 2017 to start my own plant in Roodepoort, we focused on contract manufacturing,” she said.

“When we were naming the beer, I knew that I wanted it to be a brand that will carry the legacy of women as the original brewers in African culture.

“In our culture, women are referred to using their clan names and women brewers’ homes are always referred to using the brewers’ clan name.

“For instance, if my mom was a brewer, her house would be Kwa-Mamtolo,” she said.

Nxusani-Mawela said she used African-inspired ingredients such as sorghum, rooibos and other local ingredients to make the Tolokazi range.

“Everything we do is about celebrating SA and Africa,” she said.

The PE launch of Tolokazi will be at Brick and Mortar, North End, on Saturday.

This will be followed by a tour of various entertainment events establishments in Port Elizabeth townships and Uitenhage.

Entry to the launch is free and RSVP is essential.

Contact Kamo Molebeleli on 078-830-8852 to RSVP.

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