Over 3 000 soup meals were distributed to community kitchens in the Overstrand last Wednesday after The Brewery, Hemel-en-Aarde Hermanus repurposed its equipment to “brew” soup instead of beer.

From left are Rob Munro, director of the Brewers Soup Collective, Sakkie Franken, mayor of the Overberg District Municipality, Masizole Mnqasela, Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Marc de Maudave Bestel, co-owner of The Brewery and Belle McLeod, head chef at The Brewery.

“This was a trial brew to see how the process would go. With very little changes, we were able to easily produce the first batch of soup. We are now confident that we have the ability to make enough soup daily to feed those in need in the entire Overberg,” said Marc de Maudave Bestel, co-owner of The Brewery.

Working in partnership with local and provincial governments, established NGOs and local leaders who identify hunger hotspots, the Brewers Soup Collective, a non-profit organisation, has grown to include ten craft breweries.

Joining in the festivities last week as The Brewery “brewed” its first batch of soup, was Hermanus’s whale crier, Bravo Sobazile

The aim of the Collective is to create a win-win situation. With the COVID-19 restrictions that are still in place, craft brewers across the country are in real danger of having to close down. By producing soup to fill hungry bellies, in partnership with bakeries who supply bread, the craft brewing industry is able to receive a contribution towards staff salaries while recouping their soup input costs of energy and water.

“Breweries are going to go out of business. Their primary aim is to produce beer for on-site consumption and they can’t do this now,” said Marc. “So this is a way to do good and to keep our teams busy, while trying to keep the craft brewing industry afloat until we can brew beer again. We are hoping that the provincial government will come forward and support us.”

In the meantime, the Collective is relying on cash donations, volunteers and donations of vegetables from farmers or supermarkets, as well as bread donations from bakeries. With the cash, pallets of vegetables are sourced directly from the market at the best daily rates. At each brewery, teams of dedicated volunteers prepare the vegetables in multiple daily shifts. Product development is ongoing, overseen by qualified nutritionists, head chefs and the craft brewers. An average craft brewery is capable of producing 10 000 portions of nutritious soup per day.

The first pilot was first initiated in Cape Town at Woodstock Brewery on 24 April. Over an initial nine-week period, 235 000 litres of soup, equivalent to 700 000 meals, were produced. Blue Ribbon has also provided 35 000 loaves of bread.

Masizole celebrated this community initiative with a glass of beer and a cup of soup.

Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Masizole Mnqasela and Sakkie Franken, mayor of the Overberg District Municipality, along with Overstrand ward councillors were at The Brewery last week to watch the soup brewing process and to assist with the distribution.

Volunteer Michael McFadzen, surrounded by the supply of local veggies for the soup.

“We appreciate and welcome this great initiative in the Overstrand Municipality and the community of the Overberg District as a whole. Thank you to the entire brewery collective for remembering the less fortunate,” said Masizole.

The ten members of the Brewers Soup Collective are Woodstock Brewery, Drifter Brewing Co, Long Beach Brewery, Bing’s Bru, Lakeside Brewing Co (all in Cape Town), Fraser’s Folly (Elim), Old Potter’s Brewhouse (Greyton), Stellenbosch Brewing Co (Stellenbosch), Richmond Hill Brewing Co (PE) and The Brewery Hemel-en-Aarde (Hermanus). All craft brewers nationwide are welcome to join the collective.

Donations within South Africa can be made to The Brewers Soup Collective, Nedbank Account: 1203378432, Branch Code: 104309. Outside of South Africa, donations can be made to the Brewers Soup Collective on GoFundMe (gofundme.com/).

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