Voice of America (Washington, DC)

South Africa: New South African Beers Flavored With Boer History

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"Then, once our brewery was set up it was trial and error; serious trial and error. But we got there. We've been brewing for about two years now and it's going well."

South Africa's other leading craft beer brewers are almost exclusively middle-aged or elderly men. Botha acknowledged she initially struggled to fit into the tightknit circle.

"In the beginning it was a bit ... yeah, intimidating, basically. But you get used to it after a while," she said, and then added with a laugh, "Not everybody likes me a lot. I don't mind. That actually just tells me that I'm really good at my job. I know some people skinner [gossip] behind my back, but I don't care."

But Botha is clearly irked by what she perceives sometimes as "negativity" towards her by other brewers.

"I think people think I'm a spoilt brat. I think that's what a big part of it comes down to. You know: 'Daddy gave her a brewery; sy't met haar gat in die botter geval... '" [She fell with her bottom in the butter]

Nevertheless, Botha's beer is in demand.

"We presently make 2,200 liters a month but we seriously need to expand. People are phoning us all the time to ask to stock our beer in their bars and restaurants," she said. "Our sources are there and the people want our beer and our new brewery is on its way; it's being shipped out of China as we speak. Then we'll be going up to about 18,000 liters a month ..."

All the brewers driving South Africa's artisanal brew boom are mirrored in the beers they produce: unique, with idiosyncrasies. They're often divided in their approaches to their craft, but ultimately united in their attempts to make good beer.

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