Crafting Excellence in Brewing: UKZN BEER Brewers’ Journey
The University of KwaZulu-Natal has a reason to raise a toast to excellence thanks to its exceptional BEER Brewers team who recently won the Lager category of the Intervarsity beer brewing competition.
This talented group of brewing enthusiasts – Mr Qiniso Mthethwa, Ms Phila Mbambo, Mr Nkosinathi Doctor Ndlazi, Ms Nothando Nxumalo, and Mr Sandile Mthembu – is setting new standards and making waves in the world of brewing.
Mthethwa, a PhD student who serves as the team’s mentor, said the SAB Brewing & Tasting InterVarsity Competition is always an amazing experience, saying it goes beyond the thrill of brewing and winning. ‘It’s a platform for learning and personal growth,’ he said, adding that he has gained invaluable confidence through the competition, emphasising that passion and determination can overcome any obstacle.
Mbambo, an MSc candidate and brewing enthusiast, discovered her love for brewing during her time at UKZN. The SAB Brewing & Tasting Competition was a turning point for her, providing a unique platform to explore the intricacies of brewing. Her participation enhanced her technical skills and knowledge, particularly in yeast isolation for brewing. Mbambo is determined to continue her brewing journey and showcase her love for the craft.
Ndlazi, an MSc candidate, discovered the world of brewing through the competition. He described it as an exciting and challenging experience, highlighting the diverse range of beers and testing techniques showcased. Competing has not only improved his brewing knowledge and skills, but expanded his network in the industry, offering opportunities for growth and learning. His motivation to compete stems from the unquenchable desire to learn and improve his brewing skills.
Nxumalo, a Bachelor of Science graduate, found the competition to be enlightening. It opened her eyes to the scientific aspects of brewing and the wide range of career opportunities in the industry. Beyond academia, the competition highlighted the vast potential in the world of brewing. Her motivation to participate is not just about winning, but about the love for brewing and representing UKZN with pride.
Mthembu, a PhD student at the School of Life Sciences, said SAB Brewing & Tasting InterVarsity Competition was an incredible experience. ‘The travel, interactions, and the chance to meet influential figures from various sectors make it a remarkable event. The benefits of competing go beyond the tangible, instilling confidence and the belief that passion and determination can overcome obstacles,’ he said.
The BEER Brewers team is a blend of diverse talents and expertise. Each member plays a crucial role in the team’s success. Be it mentorship, yeast isolation, brewing, or the intricate art of brewing lagers, a united team spirit is at the heart of their journey.
The team acknowledges the invaluable support from sponsors like BASA (Beer Association of South Africa) and Ab InBev, as well as the Microbiology department which provides essential infrastructure. With their backing, the BEER Brewers can continue to innovate and excel in the world of brewing.
The team said UKZN can further support their journey by increasing promotional awareness and funding for essential equipment. Promoting interest among undergraduate students to pursue postgraduate studies at the university is crucial for the team’s continuity. The skills nurtured through competitions like this offer a path to economic upliftment, especially in a country with high youth unemployment rates like South Africa. Competitions such as the SAB Brewing & Tasting InterVarsity encourage beer education and show how it can be used to start businesses, rather than just seeking employment.
The BEER Brewers of UKZN are a shining example of passion, innovation, and the power of teamwork. As they gear up for their next brewing challenge, the UKZN community eagerly anticipates their continued success and the positive impact they bring to the world of brewing. Cheers to the BEER Brewers, who prove that with determination and enthusiasm, nothing can stand in the way of excellence!
Words: Cindy Chamane