In April 2022, the country looked towards investment as a driver of economic growth and recovery. This is where the South African Breweries (SAB) reaffirmed its commitment to reignite the national economy.
The brewer pledged to invest a further R920m into the national economy, of which R270m will be channeled into an expansion and evolution of SAB’s Ibhayi Brewery in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape.
Operating under the name Project Beyond, this capital injection will seek to capitalize on growth of flavoured alcoholic beverages (FAB) in the South African market by increasing the brewing capacity of the beyond beer category – which includes ciders, seltzers and even sparkling wine.
Thembinkosi Thwala, Plant Manager from Ibhayi Brewery at SAB says, “We are encouraged by the growth in popularity of our beyond beer products. This investment is an opportunity to satisfy increased demand while increasing the economic and social impact we can have in the region.”
For Project Beyond, this will see the Ibhayi Brewery increase its brewing capacity to include a maize-based FAB in the form of Redds and a malt-based FAB with Flying Fish. Presently, Thwala says this increased capacity will likely make way for 20 new permanent jobs in the business with around 50 local contractors to be used for the construction and expansion of the brewery itself.
According to Thwala, SAB plans to break ground on this project in June 2022 with the project estimated to run through to August/September next year.
“We are excited to rally the community to stimulate the local economy,” says Thwala. “The Eastern Cape has always been close to our hearts. We have numerous innovative and remarkable community projects through our Ibhayi Brewery. We anticipate that this expansion will create more capacity for us to make a bigger impact on the community.”
This investment follows SAB’s commitment to invest R650m into its Prospecton Brewery in KwaZulu-Natal. This ramps up SAB’s total South African investment commitment for 2022 to R4.5bn – adding impact to an industry that already contributes 1.3% of the national GDP.
“These investments will give us the capacity to not only contribute to the economy but also to be able to contribute to tax, excise and procurement spend. From province to province, we are committed to playing a pivotal role in working with government and social partners to continue helping South Africa grow,” concludes Thwala.