Women who brew at SAB

08 Aug 14

Women who brew at SABAnyone who thinks brewing beer is a man’s game will think again when they meet up-and-coming female brewers at the SAB with a passion for making high-quality beer.

All of these beer-loving women began their careers at SAB and have grown and progressed as they challenged themselves by furthering their training.

For cellars area manager Paula Medronho, it was most ironic when, as a non-beer drinker at the time, she was offered a job at the country’s biggest brewer. “My love for science and exploring new things lead me to a degree in Microbiology and I started off in the lab but soon realised that fermentation and yeast were where my passion was and so began the long route to move to brewing where I am today”.

Project brewer Payal Sukram says the Chamdor Brewery is “undoubtedly one of the most hip and happening breweries in SA. We are at the heart of new product development, we constantly trial new products and are regularly faced with exciting challenges.” Some might call Payal a bit of an adrenaline junkie, as she says she gets a thrill when making important decisions which ensure that beer of the optimal quality reaches the consumer and “I get the satisfaction of knowing the decision I made has worked”.

“The biggest misconception about my job is that it is a male-dominated field. We have lots of female brewers at SAB, ” says Vanitha Engelbrecht, brewmaster at SAB’s Alrode Brewery (pictured). “And guess what? – women also enjoy a nice chilled beer at the end of a hard day’s work.”

Vanitha holds a Master Brewer qualification from the Institute and Guild of Brewing in the UK. In addition, she came top in the world while doing her Master Brewer qualification.

Lead Process Engineer Suraksha Maharaj has been at SAB’s Chamdor Brewery in Gauteng for eight years, she joined the company after studying Chemical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Suraksha says that the best aspect of her job is the travel, as Lead Process Engineer, Suraksha travels to other breweries to see how things are done and is responsible for problem-solving in the brewing process.

In contrast, Hanika Moodley’s job involves working with a living organism crucial to the brewing process – yeast. “Working with a living organism is the most challenging part of my job, ” says the Yeast Specialist at SAB’s Rosslyn Brewery in Pretoria. Hanika’s B.Sc (Hons) in Biotechnology from Rhodes University originally set her on the path to brewing. She has been working at SAB for the past five years, and says her proudest moment was receiving her International Brewing Diploma and qualifying as an SAB Brewer.