One of the world’s largest brewing houses, Heineken, has taken a step towards a larger share of the South African beer market with the acquisition of the local black owned craft brewer, Soweto Gold, in October 2017. This development comes just months after Heineken bought out the Stellenbosch-based brewery, Stellenbrau. The mergers mean that the brands can now be marketed to a global customer base. While this may be good for the respective owners of the acquired firms, the transactions reflect the challenges faced by Soweto Gold and other small brewers in accessing routes to market on their own.
South Africa has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world with a Gini coefficient that has remained around 0.65 over the past decade.1 In addition, South Africa’s unemployment rate, using the narrow definition, at 26.4% is very high.2 Much of this has been attributed to the legacy of apartheid during which the majority of South Africans were economically marginalised with few economic opportunities.