The Tavern Tatler

News for the Liquor Trade

Liquor industry transformation

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and liquor industry role-players have committed to transforming the industry.

 This commitment was made at the Liquor Industry Transformation seminar, hosted by the dti.

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and liquor industry role-players have committed to transforming the industry.

 Chief director of the dti’s National Liquor Authority (NLA), Prea Ramdhuny, said that while much has been accomplished to deracialise the economy, the extent to which the majority of black people participated meaningfully in the economy has to be accelerated.

 Ramdhuny said government and the industry working together would contribute to building an equal society through sustained and inclusive growth.

 President of the South African Youth Chamber of Commerce (SAYCC), Thapelo Maleke, said that while his organisation welcomed transformation within the liquor sector, the effectiveness of liquor regulations must be debated.

 “There is very little SMME activity in the liquor industry, because most of the big players choose to conduct most of their manufacturing to distribution activities in-house. Some of the few SMMEs appointed as distributors are allowed to handle the products of that producer only, which affects their ability to grow their business and achieve operational independence,” he said.

 The seminar was part of the dti’s initiative to interrogate compliance regarding broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) as outlined in the B-BBEE Act and sector codes, as well as the disparities and challenges encountered within the liquor industry regarding transformation and the challenges experienced by small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) within the liquor industry.

 The seminar also looked at ways in which the government and the liquor industry could work together to increase the participation of black people in the industry. –

Heineken acquires Soweto Gold

Soweto carries a proud history of producing icons and has recently celebrated a new milestone. The Soweto Brewing Co., a small Kasi-born brewery located a stone’s throw from Vilakazi Street, has been acquired by Heineken – the second largest brewer in the world – to join its portfolio of brands

Through Soweto Brewing Co.’s uniquely powerful story and exceptional recipes, rich in quality and culture, the globally renowned brewer will be enabling the specialty township brewer to take its brands to a wider audience of beer drinkers across South Africa.

Ruud van den Eijnden, Managing Director of Heineken SA says, “In many ways, we view this as a true partnership with our role being to support and amplify the great platform that the founders have already built.” Ndumiso Madlala and Josef Schmid, the founders of Soweto Brewing Co, will remain involved from a brewing and brand custodianship point of view, continuing their successful business, under the ownership of Heineken.

A new icon to celebrate

Together, they have launched a new beer and icon of Soweto, Soweto Gold – Superior Golden Lager. An expertly brewed, pure golden lager with a smooth and rich taste and an ABV of 5%. “We’ve always said that Soweto represents the best of South Africa, and of South Africans”, says Madlala “To us, it’s not just a place, but an idea of things born of the Kasi. Together with our great team, we’ve built a brand that we and the people of Soweto are incredibly proud of, and the team at Heineken have gone out of their way to demonstrate that they understand and respect this, they’ve given us amazing scope to continue to build this powerful story.

Kasi flavour

The Soweto Brewing Co.’s specialty range will continue to be available on tap, which includes the Original Lager, Apple Ale, Cherry Ale and GoGo’s Ginger. The all-new Soweto Gold – Superior Golden Lager celebrates and brings together true brothers with the spirit of eKasi, celebrating deep friendships born from a lifetime of shared stories and experiences. As an icon of true brotherhood, the brand inspires and supports men as they make their way through life. Although this beer is born in Soweto, the founders truly believe that this is a beer brewed for all.

New on the market: Introducing Merriment&Co

 There is an innovative new company in the South African liquor space, and it is set to bring new flair and distinction to the industry and exciting new brands to local consumers.

Merriment&Co, - merchants, marketeers and manufacturers of fine spirits, wines and champagne - is a startup that combines an extensive experience of the fine beverage market with an imaginatively entrepreneurial approach.

Dirk J Ullrich, Managing Director of Merriment&Co explains: “We realised that there was a gap in the market for distinctive new tastes and fresh alcohol brands, so we set out to find the best in the world.”

Using their wide experience in the market both in Africa and abroad, the company has chosen to market and manufacture distinctive international brands, based on a clear understanding of the South African lifestyle, palate and pocket.

“Our focus is on innovative alcohol experiences with world-leading quality, coupled with personal attention and a commitment to excellent service to our dealer channel,” he says.

Ullrich is no stranger to building new brands from scratch. In his 21 years of marketing, he turned brands such as Marlboro and SKYY Vodka into household names in South Africa. His entrepreneurial spirit saw him founding Livissimo, the lifestyle drinks company in 2016. Earlier this year, a casual meeting with three investors and entrepreneurs turned into an exciting discussion about how their expertise could be pooled, and Merriment&Co was born.

After a share swap agreement, Merriment&Co and Livissimo now operate in tandem.

The company realises that the ‘walls and wheels’ – the distribution channel – can make or break a relationship between the supplier and customer.

 “It is important to us that we are available country wide. When a customer places an order, the personal service that we offer must continue through to timeous, seamless delivery. That’s why we have appointed Liquor Runners as our distribution partner for liquor and Bidfood for the non-alcoholic range,” says Ullrich.

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