BeoirFest   Let's Talk Beer

African Traditional and Craft Brewing Weekend

This weekend, in association with The Chicago Brewseum, we have something very special as we look at traditional African brewing (including its cultural position, the techniques and ingredients used and how it's changed), the position of craft brewing in Africa, and the influence of African brewing and culture on American craft brewing.

To guide us through the sessions we have some really special and knowledgeable panel of guests...

Session 1: Traditional Brewing in Africa

   March 19, 2022, 10:00 CST/16:00 CET/17:00 CAT.

Brewing has always played an important part in culture across Africa but like elsewhere in the world the traditional methods are at risk from modern commercial brewing. In this session we'll explore traditional brewing now an in the past.

  • the cultural position
  • the techniques and ingredients
  • the styles of beer produced
  • how this might have adapted in more recent years.


Session 2: Craft Brewing In Africa Now and the Future

   March 20, 2022, 10:00 CST/16:00 CET/17:00 CAT.

Commercial brewing in Africa has been dominated by large multinationals for a variety of reasons. While homebrewing has existed and been popular it is only in the last few years that a commercial scene has started to grow. In this session we'll be joined by the founders of 3 of the lading African craft breweries for a chat about their experiences and what they think the future holds for craft brewing in Africa

  • How did they get their breweries started?
  • What is the potential for craft brewing?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • What will be the unique African characteristics and what will it take from the global brewing?


Session 3: African Influence in American Craft Brewing

   March 21, 2022, 18:00 CST/ March 22 00:00 CET/01:00 CAT.

African influence on commercial craft brewing has been small. But that is starting to change, right now among brewers of African heritage but possibly soon among the wider craft world. The Chicago Brewseum is bringing together a panel to discuss the influence of African brewing and it's potential amongst American brewers.

  • How are traditional beers reflected in modern American beers?
  • How are traditional ingredients used or reflected?
  • How will traditional African beers reach beyond a niche market?


This session was organised by Liz Garibay of The Chicago Brewseum and hosted by Toni Boyce of Blaq & Soul. They had founders of three leading African-American owned breweries as guests...

Our Panelists

It's no exaggeration to say we had a true all-star panel for these events...

Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela is the founder of Tolokazi Beer, South Africa's first black female owned brewery. She is the Chairperson for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, Africa Section and Distilling and the Beer Association of South Africa. She is on the Board of Directors for both the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa and African Manufacturers Association; and was Chairperson of the Board for the Beer Association of South Africa. She has always tried to incorporate traditional elements to her beers and has unrivalled knowledge of traditional brewing.

Jessi Flynn is the Managing Director of Kweza, Rwanda's first craft brewery. Kweza has recently completed a very successful crowd-funding campaign and is building a brewery focused on bringing traditional brewing techniques and ingredients to the modern craft market.

Bayo Ijasan is the head brewer at Bature Brewery in Nigeria He has always been interested in brewing both traditional and modern and studied Brewing and Distilling in Scotland.

Kevin Conroy is the co-founder of Bature Brewery. Originally from Scotland he has spent years advising companies in Africa and Asia before founding Bature.

Kofi Meroe is the founder of Washington DC brewery Sankofa. Sankofa is a word from the Ashanti/Akan people in Ghana and translates to “Go back and get” and Kofi brings this attitude to the beers they brew, getting inspiration from his own Ghanian heritage.

Jamhal Johnson is the founder of Moors, a new Chicago brewery directly and deliberately inspired by African brewing traditions.

Leo & Denise Sawadago are the founders of Montclair Brewery in New Jersey influenced by African heritage and traditions

Liz Garibay is the founder and Executive Director of The Chicago Brewseum. The Brewseum is a registered cultural non-profit focused on exploring the cultural side of beer and brewing. They host regular talks, tours and an annual Beer Culture Summit.

Toni Boyce is the co-founder of BlaQ & Soul a space centering Black LGBTQ+ folks through food and beverage, community activism, and lived experience-based education.