Introducing Botswana’s first craft brewery, not your everyday suds
Founded in 2017, Big Sip Co is the country’s first craft beer maker, brewing unique craft beer products specifically for Batswana. The company’s director, Alexander Moss says they are complementing the expanding cultural diversity of the city with their product that is finding a new home in the city’s burgeoning bars, cafes, festivals and other events.
“We noticed that increasingly, more craft beer was being imported into Botswana from South Africa. However, we asked ourselves why we couldn’t produce our own craft beer here, locally? And so we began our journey,” he said.
Craft beers are typically made by smaller, independent and local breweries. They are distinguished from mass-market breweries which are often multinational and offer similar, consistent products. These micro-breweries are growing exponentially, the world over due to the unique variety of beer styles, flavours, and endless opportunities to create new styles in each market. At the moment the Big Sip Co produces Golden Ale, Kölsch, American Pale Ale (APA) and Indian Pale Ale (IPA).
“They are all different styles of beer from the lagers and pilsners that we typically see in Botswana and neighbouring countries. We are also in the process of creating our own Weiss beer (a beer made from wheat instead of malt) and stout (a dark beer), which we intend to release as seasonal products over the coming few months,” Moss said, adding that their craft beers can now be found at Bull and Bush and the No 1 Ladies Coffee House.
Moss further explained that the craft brewing process is complex and requires enormous attention to detail. “That said, we use only four core ingredients that ensure that our products are naturally created and the ‘healthiest’ in the market,” he beamed.
They start by boiling the water and adding two key ingredients which are malt and hops. Most of these come from Europe and the United States, but in the future they would love to see the ingredients grown locally. The boiling process changes dramatically as they vary the temperature, ingredients, duration, water composition and many other factors. They finally add yeast which stimulates the fermentation process. Depending on the ingredients they use, they can change the style, colour, aromas and alcohol volume of each type of beer produced. This means they have endless scope to be creative as they develop a unique beverage product for the Motswana beer connoisseur.
When asked how Batswana have taken to the craft beers, Moss says it’s still early days, but so far they have received an incredibly positive response from locals. “Many Batswana have been fortunate to sample a variety of craft beer in Johannesburg, Cape Town and elsewhere around the world and so have come to Big Sip Co. with an understanding of what craft beer is. However, we are thoroughly enjoying educating more and more people about what makes a craft beer and how it differs from mass produced lagers and pilsners . Regardless of the market, all of our Big Sippers so far seem to be enjoying our products,” he concluded.