Our traders face many challenges when it comes to electricity: high costs, illegal electrical connections and a lack of access to grid connections. We knew we couldn't solve this problem directly, but we looked to new, greener solutions that didn’t cost a lot to run or to install. And the obvious choice here was solar technology as it is being looked at to alleviate many of the electricity constraints around the world with it becoming cheaper and more accessible.
So, because electricity isn't something that is always 100% guaranteed, and neither is a cold beer, we wanted to change the latter. Because is a warm beer, really a beer?
HOW MUCH POWER IS NEEDED TO SERVE A BEER COLD?
We went to a few local taverns in South Africa to understand what their concerns were. We were able to see how much money was being spent on ice and generators to keep the beers cold as well as how having no light in their tavern wasn't exactly inviting for their customers. For these local tavern owners, the solutions were temporary and weren’t sustainable. We also consulted with taverns that did have access to electricity in order to determine their monthly expenditure to run things such as SAB refrigeration units.
After developing a solution, we piloted it with 10 taverns in order to test the concept. The result was that we were able to transform each tavern within a day to a solar powered business that had enough electricity to power three SAB fridges and eight lights.
Have a look at how solar power impacted Caroline and her business:
IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE COLD BEER
One of AB InBev's 100+ Sustainability Goals for climate action is to have 100% of our purchased electricity come from renewable sources and a 25% reduction in carbon emissions across our value chains.
By installing these solar panels, we contribute to not only our goals as an entity but to the vision the Department of Energy has for South Africa.
"Young South Africans are the primary beneficiaries of programmes such as the installation of solar" - Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa.
But installing the solar panels in these taverns did more than just make customers happy with a few cold ones. We helped the owners of these taverns save money as well as increase the amount of feet that went into the local spots. There was a sense of community and safety which improved the general ambience.
South African Breweries aims to grow with the technological world in hope of helping our customers, country and environment. Watch this space.