THE MAN WITH A LOVE FOR BEER
Plato, a wise man with many wise words once said, "He is a wise man who invented beer."
And Tshepo couldn't agree more. Tshepo Tloubatla, our Africa Zone Beer Culture Manager eats, sleeps and breathes beer each and every day. It has become his passion and drive to make every beer experience in South Africa a positive one. But how?
We sat down with Tshepo and got to know the ins-and-outs about his passion for beer. This is what he had to say.
BEER CULTURE MANAGER YOU SAY?
As SAB's Beer Culture Manager, what does your role entail?
My role basically has four components to it: our people, the World of Beer, the Beer Association of South Africa and developing a deeper understanding and passion for beer.
Our people: This entails cultivating a passion for beer within the business so that all employees understand how beer impacts every aspect of our business.
The World of Beer: Offering a glimpse into the heritage of beer and educating consumers and the general public about the expertise and dedication that goes into crafting their favourite beers.
The Beer Association of South Africa: The Association comprises key players within the beer industry ranging from craft breweries, the United National Breweries to Heineken, SAB and the like. Within BASA we all work together to grow the beer category in the market and ensure that beer is represented and has one voice.
Developing a passion for beer: By ensuring that every experience with beer is a positive one. This involves changing social norms and fostering a culture of smart drinking through minimising the harmful use of alcohol.
How do you promote beer culture in Africa?
It's all about investing in our people and turning them into beer ambassadors. Beer has an incredibly rich heritage that spans across continents and generations and so it’s all about bringing people together through a love of beer. If our people spread that passion wherever they go, then they essentially become a crucial element of the business that allows us to build a responsible, lasting relationship with our consumers.
HOW DID BEER MAKE ITS WAY INTO YOUR LIFE?
How did you get into the beer industry - why beer?
I actually started my career working for a whisky company. I was later approached by SAB to drive their premium beer category, which at the time featured global brands, so that they could compete with premium whisky brands that are more than often used as a badge to portray a certain lifestyle – especially when people are out in public. The opportunity appealed to me because I thought it was a great challenge, I saw whisky grow in the market, and I thought, why not elevate beer? With the amazing craftsmanship and magic that goes into brewing the flavours and aroma, I found it exciting and knew that it deserved to be placed in the spotlight.
What did you study to get into the alcohol industry?
I studied towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree, which has nothing to do with beer.
If there ever was a course that involved the culture of beer, I would have taken it for sure! But that’s what makes beer so exciting, although my degree seems completely unrelated, once you have that passion and grow your knowledge – suddenly everything becomes related. I mean there’s the business and economics of beer that’s very fascinating. When you start looking at the history of beer, the guilds where it originated from, then you start to understand the trade and you start appreciating the art of making beer. Which just shows why a passion and knowledge of beer is so important to have throughout every component of the business.
HERE FOR THE BEER
What does 'Here for the Beer' mean to you?
'Here for the Beer' is a big statement used to articulate the fact that we are a company of brewers and we love making great beer! That is our core business, it is what we do, and we don't want it to be confused by anything else. We want it to be clear to consumers that while we are a commercial and big business that we remain craftsmen, we pay attention to detail and are committed to building great brands that stand the test of time. These brands are the foundation of the business and the cornerstone of our relationship with consumers.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF BEER?
How are you contributing to the sustainability goals of SAB?
Spreading a passion for beer involves educating people about all components of the value chain. If a consumer understands where their product comes from then they will appreciate the ingredients, how it's farmed, how it's brewed, the people involved, and the sustainability initiatives that the business has implemented throughout each of these processes. For example, if we take farming, our agriculture goal is to have 100% of our direct farmers skilled, connected, and financially empowered by 2025.
By supporting our direct farmers to be skilled, connected and financially empowered, we are helping them improve their productivity, their profitability, and their efficient use of natural resources, such as soil and water. Programmes that work towards this goal includes our SmartBarley initiative that leverages data technology and insights to help farmers solve challenges and improve their productivity and environmental performance.
The businesses 100+ strategy is all about sustainability and what we need to do to survive for the next 100 years and beyond.
Have a look at what our employees are doing each day to contribute to these sustainability goals: http://www.sab.co.za/sustainability-report
How is SAB changing the way people think about Smart Drinking?
For me, the biggest thing is having our employees live by our smart drinking goals as these help foster behaviour change in communities. Our programmes and marketing activities certainly play a significant role in creating awareness and reducing the harmful use of alcohol but saying something and doing it are two separate things. It's through evidence-based actions such as drinking alcohol-free beer when they know they have to drive or having a good time but making sure that they don’t put themselves or others in harm by assigning a designated driver or using a taxi service. In saying this I know that smart drinking still has a long way to go but through being committed to our beliefs, passing that on and collaborating with others we can drive that change sooner rather than later. For more info visit: https://www.ab-inbev.com/what-we-do/smart-drinking/smart-drinking-goals.html
FOR THE LOVE OF BEER
Beer has been a catalyst for many scientific advances in the world, but the benefits bestowed are not limited to science. What has beer done for you?
It's given me cherished memories. Memories that involve having new experiences, meeting new people, building relationships and getting to understand and appreciate other cultures.
If you're as passionate about beer as Tshepo is, why not look at a career in the beer industry?
Visit our career pages and see if we can help you: http://www.sab.co.za/careers