Beer Is Art

Crafting the next generation of brewers

author Obakeng Malope enjoying a craft beer from a local South African brewery
The author enjoying a locally brewed pint of craft beer. Photo courtesy of Obakeng Malope

I founded the Beer is Art movement to teach the youth (over 21 years of age) of South Africa about the beer craft. These are unfortunate times for many young adults in our country as many are sitting at home unemployed. For example, in 2021, 2⁄3 of our population between the ages 15 and 24 were unemployed. Our goal is to teach that beer is not simply something to get drunk off; that it can be an entrepreneurial opportunity. The focus of the campaign is to teach about beer and food pairing, the brewing process, beer podcasting, starting your own beer brand, etc. 

The Beer is Art campaign relates beer brewing to art like the drawings that were left on the caves by the Khoisan (a tribe of the region). The Khoisan drew paintings on cave walls to tell stories of how they were living and events so that the next generation could read the stories to get to know who they were and understand their roots. Beer similarly tells a story, the beer that we make now is not necessarily the beer that future generations will be making, say in 200 years. The people who will be living in those times will be using the beer that we are making at this point in time as a historical reference. They will learn about the aromas that we prefer and the tastes that we sought. They will read the stories that we have left for them and learn what kind of people we were . . . our likes and dislikes that are influencing the beer we drink.

Our belief is that beer has gotten a bad reputation in many communities, especially amongst poor neighborhoods were it can often be abused. What Beer is Art has aimed to do is go to those same communities and empower the next generation through what beer can offer.

What Beer is Art has aimed to do is go to those same communities and empower the next generation through what beer can offer.

The youth don’t have funds to pay for this education, so the plan of Beer is Art is to sustain this campaign and spread it to many communities throughout the country through beer documentaries and reality shows. See, I am also a filmmaker and a brewer here in South Africa. I participated in Eugenia Brown’s “Road to 100” and was selected as one of 100 women of color to receive funding for a Cicerone® certification program by Black Beer Chick USA. It was here that I was introduced to brewing. After, I furthered my education by volunteering at local breweries. 

So far Beer is Art has been able to team up with many businesses and groups. Several breweries from India as well as India’s first and only beer podcast, Cheers Chatty by Chatty Girija, have come on board to partner with us. The breweries will teach the students how to brew Indian beer using Indian herbs and spices while Cheers Chatty will teach about beer podcasting.

The Indian brewers use local ingredients and unconventional ingredients. One popular beer uses anantmool/Indian sarsaparilla. It’s woody and aromatic when steeped in hot water and gives a unique creamy texture and mild sweetness. The base beer is a stout brewed with both anantmool and organic cocoa powder. Another beer is brewed utilizing bajra grain and gondhoraj lime. The goal is to inspire the students who live in more rural villages to go pick wild berries and other herbs to infuse in their beer. Others can use the ingredients from local markets that resonate with them. 

A brewery in Belgium offered help to our cause as well. Beerstorming, a brew-on-premise concept brewery located in Saint Gilles on the south side of Brussels, has pledged to teach the youth recipe development. What got our attention about Beerstorming is that you exchange your ideas, opinions, and desires about new recipes with them and, with their help and equipment, make it happen. Follow us on Instagram at

Issue: January-February 2023