OnTap Magazine

Where is Kweza at right now? We have been brewing on a pilot scale (40-90L batches) until now, while we got licensed and worked on our supply chains. Nowwe are growing!We are in the midst of importing brewery equipment to Rwanda. We hope to open our facility and a tasting room mid-year. We want to create a "pub crawl" agricultural tourism experience, where each place you drink Kweza, you see a different side of our story. In the meantime, we are supplying the US Embassy, the Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and some high-end hotels and lodges. What characterises your beer? We use sorghum malted by Rwandan women on their farms as the main ingredient for most of our beers. We are hybridising a native Rwandan crop, preparing it traditionally, and then applying modern global brewing knowledge and hops to create a range of beers that meet both a local and a global palate. It is not traditional Rwandan sorghum beer, ikigage , but a relative of it. We are also working with Rwandan ecologists and scientists to explore the use of more native plants for flavour, bittering, and yeasts. We would like to contribute uniquely Rwandan beers to the global beer world. How are you helping to empower women? We are women-owned, led, and brewed, all of which are minority situations for women in the brewing world. We also source from and work with women whenever possible - through our ingredient sourcing, our consultants, our employees and our retail partners. By including more women in the brewing industry, directly and indirectly, we hope to diversify the industry. We are employing and training women on the technical brewing side and in business management. As far as we are aware, Rwanda is the first country in the world where the commercial craft brewing industry is being started by women. How you are making your business sustainable? We source and process as locally as possible. The two main Rwandan industrial breweries import malted barley from abroad. We choose to make a delicious beer with local, native ingredients that showcase the flavours and biodiversity of Rwanda. We have plans to work with farming communities in planting native species that are now only found in national parks. By buying those plants and making unique Kweza beers, we hope to grow attention and demand for the commercialisation of native species to biodiversity and local farmers. How are people responding to your beer? With so much unexpected enthusiasm! We expected a struggle to introduce our products, and the craft beer industry, to the market. We did not know which flavour profiles would be successful, or how Rwandans and foreigners would respond to sorghum-based clear beers. But we have pre-sold everything right through to when we can get onto our larger equipment, and even then, we have a long waitlist of restaurants, hotels etc. who have sampled our products, and are waiting for availability. The Rwandan government has been very supportive of our business because we will meet a niche in the market by showcasing local products at conventions, sporting events and such. JESSI FLYNN Kweza Craft Brewery | Kigali, Rwanda We use sorghum malted by Rwandan women ontapmag.co.za | Winter 2022 | 27