Big Sip Co. is a craft brewery based in Gaborone, Botswana. The brewery is Botswana’s first ever craft brewery, and at this year’s Capital Craft Beer Festival they’ll be showcasing their distinct range of beers. PDBY spoke to Big Sip Co. to find out a bit more about them and as to what people can expect from them at Capital Craft Beer Festival.
Big Sip Co., you are originally from Botswana and have now found yourself in Pretoria, South Africa, for Capital Craft Beer Festival. How is the South African market different to that of the Botswanan market?
The two markets are in completely different stages of maturity. Craft beer has been growing in South Africa for many years and we see how developed the industry has become. There are hundreds of distinct products, coming from a diverse collection of breweries across the country. In Botswana though, that growth has barely begun.
As Botswana’s first craft brewery, we are leading the charge in creating a distinct craft beer industry. Every day, we see more and more Botswana testing out Big Sip Co. craft beer – and we’re stoked that so many keep coming back for more! We hope that there’ll be more players in the market in the years to come… so watch this space.
Was it difficult for you to build your brand in Botswana and why did you decide to start your own brewery?
Creating any new business can be challenging, and particularly where you are the first in the market. We’ve been fortunate though to receive so much support from across the community. Our followers love our brand and we hope that it captures the essence of Botswana, and indeed, Africa. We are also focused on promoting Botswana as a diamond nation within the SADC region. Like the incredible wilderness areas, such as the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and Central Kalahari, we are aiming to showcase a Botswana-made product of the highest quality.
Creating any new business can be challenging, and particularly where you are the first in the market.
You are the first microbrewery in Botswana and are a very new company. What will people at the Capital Craft Beer Festival see from you that is unlike any of the other breweries?
Well, it’s not often that you see craft beer in South Africa that has come from neighbouring African countries, so that alone will be an achievement. We’ve tailored our beers to meet the tastes of our unique markets in Botswana, so beer enthusiasts can look forward to trying our unique take on some favourites such as the Kölsch style, Golden Ale and IPA.
Your main goal was not to export straight to South Africa but rather to grow larger in Botswana and export to our other neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe. Now that you are going to be at Capital Craft Beer Festival, does this mean that we will be seeing more of your brand in South Africa?
We hope so! Whilst we see great opportunities to take Big Sip Co. into other neighbouring countries, we haven’t lost sight of our bigger brother down south. If the feedback is good, we’re hoping that we can begin listing our beers in a range of bars, restaurants and other venues in Gauteng and beyond. We’ll certainly be using the Capital Craft Beer Festival to showcase our brand to as many people as possible.
Besides your beautiful packaging and your main types of beers, Kölsch, Golden Ale, APA and IPA, what can we expect from you at the Beer Festival? Will there be anything new?
This will be our first time at the Capital Craft Beer Festival and will provide an incredible platform for us to test our products in the South African market. We’re planning to bring our four core beers along – the Kölsch style, Golden Ale, APA and IPA. We’ve only started full commercial production in the past six months though and so are busy (as we speak!) testing out new styles.
We’ve recently launched a Weiss and will soon be launching a Stout, but attendees may have to wait until next year. Or better still, come and visit us in Gaborone…