Beau’s All Natural is trying to build an all women staffed craft brewery in Africa.
The big story at this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill was the brewery’s latest endeavour to do good: a project to build an Ontario-style craft brewery in the Rwandan capital of Kigali run for and by women. This year’s festival (which I was honoured to have particpated in) saw an attendance of over 20,000 people and raised $86,084 for various philanthropic organizations. Most of the benefactors of Beau’s Oktoberfest are local, Ottawa Valley charities, but $13,860 will go to the Rwandan brewery project, which is being started-up by Rwandan restaurateur and entrepreneur Fina Uwineza. Uwineza attended Oktoberfest as the guest of honour.
The money raised will go towards a $95,000 bottling line. Beau’s is raising the balance of funds through November through a Kickstarter campaign. Beau’s is managing and supplying the rewards to donors. At Oktoberfest, I received my own reward from Beau’s Marketing Manager, Jacquie Severs, who was on hand to explain the project to attendees. She told me the connection between Uwineza and Beau’s was initiated through a Toronto-based consultant Nancy Coldham, who is involved in mentoring women entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Coldham brought Uwineza’s dream of a women owned and operated brewery to the Ontario Craft Brewers association. The OCB explained to Coldham that helping set-up the brewery was out of their scope or capability, but one of the members of their board decided that it was too good an idea not to help in some other way.
That board member, Severs went onto explain, was Beau’s CEO Steve Beauschene. Beauschene thought that that the project was right in keeping with the Vankleek Hill-based, employee owned, company’s ehtos of using craft beer to good in the world. It was long until Beaschene and a team from Beau’s were on a plane to Africa to meet Uwineza, and the project was on it’s way.