In Mozambique, home brewing is big — not because the country is full of mustachioed, fixie-riding expats from Portlandia, but just because it’s less expensive. So when brewing giant SABMiller wanted to figure out how to sell beer to people who are already making their own, they had to do it on the cheap, reports Marc Gunther at GreenBiz. Using local ingredients and less energy turned out to be key to keeping prices competitive with the corner moonshine still.
The result is Impala, a beer made from cassava, the starchy root endemic to Africa. Cassava is uniquely suited to locavorism because once it’s out of the ground, it goes bad within a couple of days, so it can’t be exported. You want to eat it, you have to eat it local. SABMiller processes it on site, using a mobile processing unit invented by the Dutch. The lack of hops wheat or barley in the beer also means that it happens to be gluten free — so even if this beer isn’t made by hipsters, they’ll probably be drinking it.
“Africa’s agricultural potential is enormous, but currently under-exploited,” he went on. “By creating market opportunities for subsistence farmers in our value chains, we are able to increase their productivity, allowing them to feed their families and generate an income for the first time.” The company said it is buying cassava from more than 1,500 smallholders.