Three Rwandan women: Josephine Uwase, Jessi Flynn, and Debby Leatt, have founded a small local beer industry through craft beer with the aim of reducing poverty amongst local Rwandan woman farmers.

The women-owned, women-led brewery core goal is to focus on raw materials sourced from local women farmers in rural areas and to create many jobs along the whole value chain from growing raw materials, supply chain, processing in the factory, and selling beer products.

Co-founder of Kweza Craft, Jessi Flynn says, “Historically beer has always been made by women all around the world, and originally and historically beer was made in Africa, so while Europeans and Americans think it’s a German thing or an American thing and it’s made by men, it’s not actually the global history. So, what we want to do, is empower the same women who have been brewing beer at home, at a small scale, to enter that commercial market where really the profit is made, because with women being economically empowered, they can also decide how to invest in a new business and keep growing the economy.”

The Craft brewery is a small brewery that produces beer in a traditional or non-mechanized way, beer styles like Sorghum Ale (produced with sorghum and some fruits such as mango), Ginger Beer, India Pale Ale, Stout, and others are produced under 50 litres every batch.

Speaking to Josephine Uwase, brewhouse operator who has been an avid homebrewer since 1994, shared the brewing procedure.

“We make it a point to use either filtered water or mineral water for the craft brewery. We then add the grains onto the water, after that, we pump the mixture into a lauter tun. We then boil, we then proceed with wort separation and cooling, fermentation, maturation, filtration, and carbonation.

The challenge is that we are the first, if you are a restaurant, you can go to the shop and buy a pot or buy some ingredients, but we cannot just go down the road and buy some brewery ingredients or equipment, so it’s a challenge to find the ingredients and to find the equipment we need but we are finding some of the things we can work with people here.”

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Over R15 million ($1 million) is the expected initial capital contribution for the project, the founders of the brewery say that once the business becomes viable it will create even more opportunities for many women. –

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