Event Review: Grand Opening Of Kampala's First Microbrewery: Banange Brewery
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
If you're a craft beer lover in Kampala it's time to rejoice because Banange Brewery, Kampala's first micro brewery just opened it's doors in the city. Located at Yujo Izakaya restaurant in Nakasero and occupying a warehouse adjacent to the restaurant, the brewery serves 6 craft beers on tap available at the Yujo restaurant bar.
For those of you who don't know, A microbrewery or craft brewery is a brewery that produces small amounts of beer typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries, and is independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing technique. (Totally stole that description from wikipedia, ha!). But in our layman's term, its pretty much darn good beer that isn't mass produced, tastes great and is worth every penny/shilling.
Blogkla was delighted to attend the grand opening of the brewery and was given a private tour of the Brewery and had a chat with the co-owners of the brewery Adam Cameron and Pàll Kvaran to discuss all things beer and of course brewery stuff...
Blogkla: Let’s go back to the beginning. Can you tell me how Banange brewery got started?
Adam & Pàll: We started brewing as a hobby with a bunch of other home brewers in Kampala for personal consumption only. About a year ago, we took 300 bottles of our beer to Que pasa restaurant and sold out in 24 hours! That's when we realized that we had something to make a business out of. After that, we started raising funds personally and through some investors mostly from the Expat start-up community in Kampala and voila Banange Brewery was born.
Blogkla: Is this something you went to school for? Or just a passion project that turned into a career?
Adam & Pàll: We both have professional jobs with backgrounds in Engineering (Adam) and Agricultural development (Pàll) but have currently put our jobs on hold to pursue this full time.
Blogkla: Why Yujo Izakaya?
Adam & Pàll: They had the space and we have a great business collaboration with them where they have our beers on tap and we attract customers to the restaurant.
Blogkla: How many staff do you employ at the moment?
Adam & Pàll: Right now, it's just the two of us plus one other staff member that helps out.
Blogkla: How is your beer connected to the local area? How do you get your ingredients etc?
Adam & Pàll: We get all our ingredients locally especially the barley from local farmers. We are currently using barley from Kabale. The malted barley that we are using right now is from Germany and the hops are Kenya.
Blogkla: What hurdles did you face when setting up the brewery?
Adam & Pàll: Well, we had to raise funds and the Uganda government imposes heavy taxes on imported ingredients so we had to really look for good local producers to supply our barley.
Blogkla: Your beer is currently on tap only. Are we gonna get bottles soon?
Adam & Pàll: Unfortunately not. We are currently focusing on supplying kegs to bars and restaurants. Right now, our pilot is Yujo and in the near future, we shall be appearing at a local bar near you. We are also considering Growlers ( A big air tight bottle usually 5 litres or more that's used to transport draft beer from one place to another without a degradation in quality or taste), that customers can purchase and recycle.
Blogkla: Are you gonna introduce more styles of beers? Like sour beer?, wheat beer, double IPAS? (Pleassse say sour beers!!)
Adam & Pàll: Um, not sure about the sour beers yet because the local beer lover's palate seems to gravitate towards Lagers and Ales. So we shall stick to what we're brewing at the moment and leave room for expansion later. Our white ale "Muyembe White" is almost belgian style and is easy to drink.
Blogkla: Final question, are you looking to grow big and compete with the big guys? *cough* Nile breweries *cough*. ha. Cause I think you have amazing beers and would hate it if you ran out (insert sad face emoji here)
Adam & Pàll: Ha, that's a great problem to have and thanks for the vote of confidence but we are currently taking it one day at a time. We have a great business partnership with Yujo and and are sticking with that at the moment. But definitely, when the demand grows, we will have to employ more staff and expand.
Blogkla: Thanks for your time and we shall definitely be returning to drink more of your beer here at Yujo.
Banange Beer is available at Yujo everyday and private tours of the brewery can be arranged by requesting via the facebook page of the brewery and email.
Here are some photos from the grand opening. For more pics check out the banange brewery facebook page (Photo cred: Maren Hald Bjøgum)