The Tavern Tatler

News for the liquor trade

WORLDWIDE SHIFT TO NO- AND LOW-ALCOHOL BEERS

Increasing numbers of adult drinkers around the world are passing up on their traditional alcoholic beverages as trends show a shift to the no- and low-alcohol beer (Nablab) categories.

According to global market research company Nielsen, Americans are no longer as loyal to their historic adult drink of choice, whether it’s because they’re tapering consumption, adapting habits to improve general health and wellness, or simply opting to try something new. A Nielsen survey in 2019 found 47% of adult drinkers wanted to reduce their alcohol consumption to lead healthier lifestyle. South Africa is no different.

A Nielsen survey in 2019 found 47% of adult drinkers wanted to reduce their alcohol consumption to lead healthier lifestyle. South Africa is no different.

The recent "Dry January" movement demonstrates how health and wellness trends are taking hold across the world. Upon inspection, you will find the shelves of your local bottle store teeming with an ever-increasing number of Nablab products. Around the braai, you might have noticed your friends cracking open a Castle Free, which offers a real beer taste without the alcohol, or a Hansa Golden Crisp, brewed in an easy-drinking low alcohol style which has already taken Latin America by storm. Other lower-alcohol products include Flying Fish Chill Lite.

During the United Kingdom’s Alcohol Awareness Week, a non-alcoholic beer was used to demonstrate to consumers that consuming fewer units of alcohol and reducing their calorie intake didn’t have to mean giving up the great taste of a quality beer.

“An alcohol-free beer offers people the freedom of choice to still enjoy the taste and the sociability of a beer, and the sense of belonging of having a drink with one’s friends, but without the alcohol,” says Zoleka Lisa, vice president of corporate affairs at SAB. “It also allows the drinker to have a safer consumption experience by practicing ‘pacing’ by combining the consumption of alcohol beers with alcohol-free beers as a means of moderation.”

No matter what is driving the shift in drinking patterns, one thing is for certain: it has created the opportunity for new beverage categories to emerge, giving brands creative licence to sell myriad products from organic to low-carb and Nablab.

“As numbers of lighter or lower alcohol beer sales increase, it is a win-win situation for brewers and the public at large, as we grow our volumes while reducing the total alcohol consumption in South Africa, meaning a safer place for all," concluded Lisa.

Meet the SAB Lerumo class of 2019

SAB proudly welcomes four women who have enrolled for the 2019 SAB Lerumo programme. This national enterprise and development programme is geared towards strengthening and supporting female representation in the beverage industry.


SAB Lerumo, powered by SAB KickStart, SAB’s flagship entrepreneurship programme, specifically targets black women running small-to-medium enterprises in the beverage manufacturing industry with the intention of helping them to thrive and prosper in commercial markets.

Now in its third year, SAB Lerumo has shifted its focus to supporting the beverage manufacturing industry. To qualify for the programme, the participants must run beverage manufacturing businesses, which are either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, are at least 51% woman-owned, have been operational for at least a year, qualify as exempt micro enterprises (EME) or qualifying small enterprises (QSE) in the BBBEE codes and currently generate revenue with a potential to scale.

The top entrepreneurs for SAB Lerumo 2019 are Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela of Brewsters Craft, Gladys Mawoneke of Breva Beverages, Mmule Setati of Frutal Juice, and Mosibudi Makgato of RM Catering Services trading as YaMama Gemmer.

SAB Lerumo draws on a rich history of development excellence. Leveraging off industry thought leadership, diverse networks of business coaches, and experienced industry partnerships culminates in years of expertise that serves to enrich the entrepreneurship journey at SAB. 

Phumzile Chifunyise, the enterprise development manager at SAB and AB InBev Africa, said that SAB’s entrepreneurship development programmes applied “a holistic approach to development by offering bespoke interventions relevant to the SMME size and sector”.

The five-month programme consists of targeted business mentorship, market access linkages, need-based asset investment, industry panel discussions and bespoke consultations with SAB’s own industry experts.

“We are beyond excited and look forward to working with the selected business leaders," Chifunyise said. "With the support of SAB’s 124 years of experience in the beverage industry, we are confident that together we can help grow their businesses to even greater heights."

About the SAB Lerumo entrepreneurs:

  • Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela launched Brewsters Craft, a brewing company that manufactures beers and ciders, in 2015. The business offers a variety of services such as contract manufacturing and has now launched African’s first black women brewery in July 2019. Brewsters Craft is a 90% black women-owned business and currently employs five people with plans to expand to 12 by early 2020. It is currently located in Gauteng and receives client enquiries from Cape Town, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Botswana.
  • Gladys Mawoneke established Breva Beverages in 2014, which manufactures and markets alcohol-free beverages to adults. The business has two ranges of products – Breva, a non-alcoholic lager and Paradise, an alcohol-free gin. It is a 100% black women-owned business that employs six people. Operating from Gauteng, Breva products can be found in all Pick n Pay stores nationwide as well as in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Mmule Setati bought Frutal Juice, a business that manufactures fresh fruit juices in 2018. It is a 100% black women-owned business that employs 18 people. Frutal Juice can be found in three provinces - Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Products can be found in Pick n Pay and Spar stores as well as in Fry’s Metals, a lead recycling operation in Germiston. 
  • Mosibudi Makgato launched RM Catering Services, which trades as YaMama Gemmer, in 2015 with her sister, Rosemary Padi. YaMama Gemmer is a homemade, traditional ginger beer that is non-alcoholic and contains no artificial preservatives or additives. YaMama Gemmer is a 100% black women-owned business that employs six people. Currently, products can be found in three provinces - Gauteng, Free State and the North West – with plans to expand to the Eastern Cape and Polokwane soon.