Brewsters are back!

07 Aug 15

Many people might be surprised to discover that the first known brewers in society were women, known as brewsters. In several ancient cultures, including many from Africa, beer was traditionally brewed by female brewers. Today’s beer industry, while perceived to be dominated by men, is rapidly changing as more and more women are enjoying beer as their drink of choice. With this, more and more women are claiming their space in the brewing industry.

While SAB has played a role in empowering many women (and men) in their brewing careers over the years because of their individual talent, we remain keen to tackle the gender perception. Our seven breweries across South Africa are each attended to by highly skilled teams of brewers made up of talented individuals of diverse ages, backgrounds and genders.

Today we introduce you to some SAB brewsters who, through their passion for brewing, are helping to drive change in today’s beer industry.


Andrea Jennings

Learning and Development Specialist (Brewing), SAB World of Learning

SAB -- Profile -- AndreaAndrea Jennings started at SAB after a Technical Traineeship, almost 13 years ago. Rising up through the ranks, she qualified as a Brewer and then held various roles such as Yeast Specialist, Hygiene Specialist and Brand Brewer. She now focuses on building brewing competencies, skills and capabilities through her involvement at the SAB World of Learning, also managing the microbrewery there.

“It’s fulfilling to be able to make a difference in someone’s life by building on their knowledge, ” she says.

On brewsters:

“Women brewers aren’t as rare as they once were. It’s important not to expect a certain attitude or reaction because you are a brewster. If you expect people to treat you with respect and take you seriously, you need to earn that respect by working hard and being good at what you do.  You need to be open minded, flexible, and be willing to learn continuously. Women are renowned for multi-tasking, and that’s a definite skill that you need as a Brewer.”


Kareishma Goodwin

SAB -- Profile -- KareishmaBrewing Specialist, Chamdor Brewery

Kareishma Goodwin is an incredibly motivated New Product Development specialist based at our Chamdor brewery. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology she was accepted into the brewing technical traineeship at SAB, an intense two year graduate programme. During this time she learned all the skills required of a brewer, from deep technical and brewing science knowledge to managing a team and operations in a manufacturing environment.

Advice for brewsters:

“Do it! Do it with confidence and grit.”

“There is nothing better than sipping on a great beer and knowing that I played a role in creating a product of such a high standard. I am very proud to be a SAB employee and even prouder of being an SAB brewer.”


Zikhona Kondze

SAB -- Profile -- ZikhonaBrewing Team Leader, Alrode Brewery

Zikhona is a driven and creative Brewing Team Leader at our Alrode brewery. She started off her professional career as a as Senior Lab Technician at SAB. Her curiosity soon led her to develop an interest in the brewing process. Through SAB she completed her Technical Brewing traineeship, in which she learned all aspects of the brewing business: from farming barley and hops to water sources and quality. This also included learning about raw material processing plants, brewhouse, cellars, filtration, packaging, warehouse, sales and marketing. She now manages a team at Alrode, focusing on areas such as brewhouse, cellars and filtration. Zikhona is a great fan of beer festivals and enjoys engaging with consumers around the changes in the industry.

Advice for brewsters:

“Don’t over think it – just go for it. What often stands in the way of women progressing in male dominated industries is the belief that they are not good enough. Sometimes the hindrances are the titles and limits we give to ourselves.”

“There are a number of excellent female brewers within SAB. Find one that can mentor and coach you.”


Payal Sukram

SAB -- Profile -- PayalBrewing Specialist, Chamdor Brewery

Payal came into SAB as part of the graduate recruitment program as a Brewing Technical Trainee, and has since explored a love for learning and growth. She’s now a qualified brewer, having completed a Brewing Diploma with the IBD and continues to develop herself with challenging roles. She’s currently also attending a leadership course through GIBS funded by SAB, in addition to her role as a Brewing Specialist in Filtration at Chamdor.

Advice for brewsters:

“Being a brewer comes with many challenges. This, together with SAB being a dynamic and constantly changing business, means one needs to be open-minded, willing to continuously learn and have the ability to innovate at all times.

Although it can involve lots of hard work and extra-long hours in the plant to ensure a high quality product reaches the consumers on time, the joy people experience and the appreciation our product receives in trade is motivation enough to each day ensure I work harder at being a better brewer, to challenge my thinking and reinvent myself as a brewer.”