Industrial gas supplier Air Products hosted the media at Johannesburg-based restaurant and microbrewery Mad Giant in June, where it showcased its support for South Africa’s bourgeoning craft beer industry.
As a supplier of gases vital to the brewing process, Air Products plays an important role in supporting microbreweries in creating craft beers suited for this expanding market, which is expected to take about 10% of the total market share in South Africa by 2022.
Air Products supplies its food-grade Freshline range of gases, including oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, to a number of microbrewies in Gauteng, including Mad Giant and Ubuntu Kraal Brewery.
Craft beer brewing requires using the correct gases, at the correct time and in the correct quantities to ensure the best outcome. Freshline oxygen is added to the wort during the fermentation process, which modifies the yeast activity and, ultimately, affects the flavour of the beer. Freshline carbon dioxide is used for the carbonation of the final product and Freshline nitrogen is used to create the ‘head’, or foam top, of a beer.
Air Products Freshline product manager Nelisiwe Dlamini explained: “Brewing craft beer is an intricate process and it is important to ensure a secure supply of oxygen to the brewery – malt and hops, water, yeast and oxygen are required for the fermentation process; without the oxygen, the entire process and, ultimately, the quality of the beer, are affected. “We understand the process and aim to ensure that we supply products to the microbreweries, enabling them to produce quality, tasty craft beer.”
For breweries, such as Mad Giant and Ubuntu Kraal Brewery, it is extremely important to ensure that gases are available during specific stages of the brewing process, as delays or interruptions, as a result of a lack of oxygen and other ingredients, will impact on the final product.
Ubuntu Kraal Brewery founder Ndumiso Madlala pointed out that Air Products had been an important part of the brewery’s operations since its commissioning in 2013. “It is important for us to ensure that our product is available to our customers at all times. With the assistance of Air Products, we can ensure that our beer is available to our Soweto Gold lovers by focusing on prompt delivery and efficient customer service”.
Mad Giant founder and qualified chemical engineer Eben Uys noted the importance of quality in delivering the best possible products. He added that Air Products had to ensure the supply of products Mad Giant needed when it needed them, allowing the brewer to deliver the high-quality beer the market demanded, which was important, since it sold its beers at the brewery as well.
“We are fortunate to be part of the growth of the craft beer market. With the knowledge, skills and insight of brewers such as Madlala and Uys, the growth of craft beer is inevitable. There is no question – Air Products will be supplying the product needed by the brewers to continue to brew quality craft beer,” Dlamini concluded.