Hard-hit craft brewers and distillers brace themselves for a rocky business restart
South Africa’s liquor industry, particularly craft distillers and brewers, have been hard hit by the protracted lockdown and ban on the sale of alcohol, with fears that many may not be able to survive.
Expecting to take years to recover, the sector hopes that it may survive by collaborating and innovating. This emerged during an online panel discussion hosted this week by Messe Muenchen South Africa, the organisers of the food & drink technology (fdt) Africa trade fair, which will be held in July 2021.
Moderated by Clive Belcher, Chairperson of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) Africa sector and MD of Global Beverage Solutions, the panel included Craft Beer Association South Africa (CBASA) Chairperson Wendy Pienaar, Brew Master and founder of Brewsters Craft Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, Southern African Craft Distilling Institute (SACDI) Secretary Pro Tem. Hendré Barnard, and “The Brewmistress” Brew Writer Lucy Corne.
Panellists noted that the sudden lockdown had left brewers with beer still in tanks, had dried up key contracts and cash flow, and had negatively impacted supply chains, meaning that most would be unable to pick up production immediately on the lifting of a ban on alcohol sales.
Nxusani-Mawela said: “Brewing beer is a process – it takes three weeks, so restarting won’t happen overnight. In addition, cash flow is a problem, so buying raw materials and packaging will be a tight squeeze – if we can source these at all. It won’t be easy.”
Pienaar added: “There are also operational issues to consider – like getting staff safely to work, and making the brewery safe for customers and staff. Even if the ban is lifted, it won’t be the end of the challenges we will face.”
In addition to challenges brewers and distillers would face in obtaining yeast, hops, botanicals and bottles, Barnard noted that producers would likely find that neutral spirits would be diverted for making sanitiser. “If producers are able to access alcohol, they might be able to get production up and running in around a week after the ban is lifted, but distillers and brewers will take a lot longer.”
Noting that craft brewers and distillers had been achieving slow growth even before the ban, the panelists said there would be tough times ahead for the entire sector.
However, craft brewers and distillers could potentially survive by innovating and collaborating.
Barnard said the first market likely to open after than ban was online sales, “Craft brewers and distillers who haven’t done so yet need to get an online sales portal live in the next week, or they could miss that opportunity.
He also noted that the market would become more price sensitive, and that brewers and distillers would have to prepare for this: “We need to face the very real possibility that the market is going to change – we are in a recession, and the first thing that suffers will be luxury goods. This is not going to be a return to normal business, and we need to prepare ourselves. Some things will become more expensive to produce – certain raw materials and bottles will be more expensive. So, if you are spending R50 -60 on packaging, you need to consider rebranding, using cheaper packaging, and passing the savings on to consumers.”
Pienaar said collaboration could help the industry survive: “We need to think about buying as a consortium, working together, becoming more creative in using what is available. We also need to do market research to make sure that we are producing what the market wants and will move quickly.”
Corne echoed this view, saying craft brewers and distillers could look at offering lockdown specials, and could put on hold bottling and canning and instead look at selling beer in 2 litre refillable ‘growlers’ to cut costs. “It’s going to be difficult, financially the industry is going to be really struggling, but customers will also be struggling financially, so the industry needs to look at products the market can afford.”
Now is the time for brewers and distillers to work on industry collaborations, market awareness and innovative new ways to go to market, the panelists said. They should also be preparing to reopen production by sourcing the safety equipment and personal protective equipment their factories and staff would need once the ban on alcohol production was lifted.
“Food & drink technology Africa has always been a hub of local and international industry collaboration and innovation, and as the world adapts in this new environment, we are committed to working with stakeholders to help them overcome the emerging challenges,” says Dain Richardson, Senior Exhibition Manager of food & drink technology Africa.
Challenges, solutions and emerging trends in the craft brewing and distilling sector will come under the spotlight at food & drink technology (fdt) Africa, the biennial trade fair for the pan-African food & drink sector next year. The fourth edition of this exhibition will be held from July 13 to 15, 2021, at the world class Gallagher Convention Centre.
Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform Launches in South Africa
Journey Wellness Co-Founders, Dr. Jacques Ludik and Laura Wayburne (Image: Nomsa Mdhluli)
Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform set to Revolutionize Wellness & Healthcare in South Africa. The Platform will transform business employee benefits and medical schemes’ approach to offering wellness for employees and medical aid members.
A revolutionary new approach to offering Ultra-Personalised, Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Healthcare from tech-trendsetting company Cortex Logic is set to transform the way medical aid schemes, consumers and corporates offering employee benefits as part of their EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) view their current healthcare offering.
The Journey Wellness platform is perfectly timed to coincide with the current global shift in Healthcare, as the focus moves from a disease-management model to one that encourages optimum health and disease-avoidance, targeting younger as well as existing members with a holistic, pro-active offering.
Corporates and medical schemes are realising that they need to offer their employees and members wellness and EAP benefits that move beyond expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care.
“Globally, an ever-increasing portion of healthcare spend and focus is shifting to promote wellness and wellbeing, rather than responding to illness,” says Lara Wayburne, a respected Healthcare Actuary consulting to Cortex Logic and part of the development team of the Journey Wellness Platform.
“Healthcare analysts predict that over the coming decade the focus on wellness and wellbeing can reduce overall healthcare costs by as much as 30%.”
“Journey Wellness enables that future by empowering and engaging consumers to better understand the drivers that impact their health and therefore be more actively involved in managing their own health. By doing so, the Journey Wellness ecosystem encourages positive health seeking behaviour, promoting better physical and mental health,” says Wayburne.
The driving force behind Journey Wellness, Dr Jacques Ludik, Founder and CEO of Cortex Logic, who has also recently written a book called ‘Democratizing Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Everyone’, says that the Journey Wellness platform will provide more healthcare, to more people, faster.
“Essentially, Journey is a cost-effective, pro-active, personalised and engaged AI health companion that will improve health outcomes for everyone involved – the medical scheme provider, employers, employees, healthcare providers and ultimately the end-user consumer who will benefit from personalised, proactive healthcare with the added benefits of cost savings all-round,” says Dr Ludik.
Journey Wellness offers a number of benefits for Medical Schemes, Corporates and End-Users:
Employer Groups and Medical Scheme providers will benefit from the cost savings inherent in moving from expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care for their members and employees. This will result in increased productivity, increased employee engagement, reduced absenteeism and cost-savings to all involved.
Healthcare Providers will benefit from having a 360-degree view of their patients that will improve wellness proactively without costly chemical intervention, usually at the reactive stage and will also empower patients with continuous self-care.
And, Consumers will benefit from a Holistic Wellness Solution and the reduced need for expensive healthcare options, improved wellbeing, rewards for engagement and ultimately having a personalised wellness coach on hand at all times to help them understand their health status and associated risks and better manage their health and improve quality of life.
“Overall, it’s a win-win scenario in which technology, data and analytics foster a collaborative and progressive healthcare environment, creating an ecosystem for improved wellbeing one step at a time that benefits everyone,” says Wayburne.
Journey Wellness has also made an exciting announcement around making the Platform’s Mental Health Module available for free to users from 1 September 2021.
“We realise that the current state of affairs globally, and in South Africa in particular, with pandemic lockdowns and economic uncertainty foremost on our minds, places an enormous amount of pressure on people. So, we’re offering free access to our Mental Health Module to users, where they can access an AI-enabled mental health companion 24/7,” says Dr Ludik.
The Journey Wellness Demo Platform for Corporate Employers and Medical Schemes is available at , and for Consumers, the User App is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices at Google Play and App Store. Medical schemes and Employers looking to offer Journey Wellness to their members can interact directly with Journey Wellness by requesting a demo via the website.
Chaka secures $1.5M pre-seed round to power digital investments and wealth management opportunities across Africa
Chaka CEO, Tosin Osibodu at a press briefing (Image & Press Release: Chaka)
Chaka is thrilled to announce its $1.5M pre-seed funding round led by Breyer Capital, a global venture firm focused on catalyzing growth in high-impact companies like Spotify, Facebook, and now, Chaka. Other participants in the round are 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Future Africa, Seedstars, and Musha Ventures.
Chaka is a technology solutions company on a mission to enable every business and person in Africa to access borderless digital investment and wealth management opportunities. The team combines investment expertise and best-in-class technology to provide reliable digital Investing, trading and wealth management solutions that are easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate.
Their mission is to enable digital border-less investing for African businesses and individuals. They’re powering the digital investment landscape in Africa through partnerships with asset managers, financial technology firms, and regulators with whom we have a shared mission. We achieve this by providing trading solutions that are easy to use and easy to integrate.
With this capital, they will focus on the goals to build a roster of formidable partners and accelerate expansion to other markets within West Africa. This investment also enables them to hire top talent and integrate more advanced functionalities into our investment and wealth management solutions.
Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, shared his view on this investment and it illustrates their shared vision: “We are proud to align ourselves with a company that is leveling the investment playing field for Nigerians (and Africans at large). We’re confident in the value Chaka provides through its digital tools, and we look forward to playing our part in supporting Tosin, Bo, Olaolu, and the Chaka team.”
This is a significant milestone for Chaka and could not have come this far without their users, partners, early investors, and a talented, achieving team of Champions.
They see digital investments as a means to boost economic transformation in Africa, and we’re very keen to bring this vision to life.
Emmanuel Penneh set to lead the Ghanaian team that will re-assemble the first Nissan Navara made in Ghana
Emmanuel Penneh (Image: Lusawovana Pius- edelman)
Emmanuel Penneh arrived back in Accra this week, ready to start the next phase of a journey that’s taken three years so far and still has an intensive eight months to run. On Thursday 3 June 2021, the married 44-year-old father of three graduated with his team of 11 Ghanaians from an intense eight-week course at Nissan South Africa’s Rosslyn manufacturing plant outside Pretoria. That was just the first step for them. Now the hard work begins, getting Ghana’s brand-new Nissan assembly plant in Tema, outside Accra, ready to begin re-assembling the first ever Nissan Navaras to be built in Africa early in the New Year.
The graduation is a critical milestone in a process that began back in 2018 with the signing of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Nissan and the Government of Ghana, followed by the drafting and promulgation of Ghana’s automotive development policy the following year and then the appointment of Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), as Nissan’s preferred partner last year to ensure that the new facility will be 100% Ghana owned and run.
Penneh is up for the challenge. Speaking at the special graduation ceremony held at the Rosslyn, SKD plant, he said he and his team were proud and honoured, excited and delighted. “This is a historic evolution for Nissan Ghana, Nissan South Africa and Nissan worldwide. This is the plant where the Nissan Navara is being made for the first time in Africa, by Africans for Africa, now we are going home to re-assemble the first Navara made in Ghana for Ghana by Ghanaians!”
Penneh will be the plant manager. It’s a feather in the cap for the 10-year JMTC veteran. Before being approached to lead the team, Penneh was service co-ordinator for the group’s aftersales operations, overseeing five workshops across Ghana. He’s been in the automotive industry for 14 years, with four years at Man Truck Ghana before he joined JMTC.
“It’s exciting,” he says, “it gives a new dimension to my career. After concentrating on the after sales aspect, I’m now coming into the industry that actually builds the vehicles.”
The eight-week training that the team underwent in South Africa had been gruelling, he said, they had no idea what to expect. “It was challenging coming fresh into this industry and discovering so many processes and rules and mastering them, but it’s been exciting.”
He’s exceptionally proud of the team he led to South Africa and the way they’ve conducted themselves. “This (the creation of a Nissan assembly plant in Ghana) is going to be a game changer for ourselves, but also for our country, creating jobs, upskilling people and creating opportunities for local brand ownership.”