Andrew Downes

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What started as a student job, became a career decision! Andrew started his pupillage (apprenticeship) at Bavaria Bräu in 1992 under supervision of the proprietor, Bavarian brewmaster, George Funk. Andrew started with brew no 3.

Andrew studied microbiology and got some work experience in a lab, a dairy, a pathology lab and at an effluent plant. After that I guess it made his decision to become a brewer an easy one.

Andrew shares his memories of the beautiful brewery at Bavaria Bräu. And we reminisce about the beautiful pub at the brewery which was always open on Friday’s. The pub was central to the culture of the brewery. We remember Mr Funk always ordering a “Pfiff” (the smallest measure of beer in Bavaria) 1/4 beer and 3/4 foam, when he was not quiet ready to leave, but had had enough to drink.

Lots of wonderful memories from this brewery that sadly was probably 10-15 years before its time. Sadly there is also not much history about this brewery as it was all before the internet.

We talk about the launch of Two Dogs in South Africa and the lessons learned from that event.

Andrews then had a stint as Project Manager – New Product Development at SAB and he shares the back story to the relaunch of Lion Lager in 2000 that bombed out so badly.

After a short stint at Alrode Maltings, Andrew moved on to SAB’s Training Institute, which set him up for his second career, which for the last 20 years has been training, trying to pass on the knowledge to the next generation, passing on some of the traditions, passing on some of the pride in the craft, because brewing is more than a job its a calling.

Andrew Downes about SAB: SAB had an incredibly rich heritage, there were good traditions. They didn’t get to no 2 in the world by mistake. They were tough. They took no prisoners. They understood their business and they measured everything: If it moved you measured it. If it didn’t move, you kicked it until it moved and then you measured it. And if it still didn’t move, you painted it yellow and black! SAB was very cost conscious, not overly privileged, there was no tolerance for waste. The competition had no chance!

Andrew then joined Global Beverage Solution as a travel trainer, and he continues to work as a freelance brewer and trainer. He lives about 5kms from Swagga Breweries where you will often find him busy in the brewery.

Then Andrew shares some wonderful stories from all the countries he has visited in Africa and around the world, since starting his training career.

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