Women Brewing Local Beer To Support Families

In order to support their families, a group of women in Jonglei State began brewing local beer to be able to afford to pay for basic needs for their families.

Women Brewing Local Beer To Support Families
Anek Alier putting her Sorghum out to dry [Jacob Achiek]

By Jacob Achiek

BOR, January 16, 2016 [Gurtong] –The traditional beer known as Miau or Kuete in the local language is made from maize or sorghum as it is the staple crop in the area.

Anek Alier, who lives in Nimule, Eastern Equatoria State, has been brewing Mian-chol a local brew for the past 20 years. She told Gurtong that the money she earns from the brew is for her family’s home consumption.

Alier lost her husband in 2009 and was left with three daughters who she raised until they got married.

A resident of Bor town, Ayen Garang Aken while speaking to our correspondent in Bor said that many women are being forced to brew alcohol as it is the only job they are capable of doing.

Majority of the women have no education as they grew up in a society where only men were then allowed to attend school. Brewing this local beer is like prestige for women on a male-dominated society.

“We have no other jobs. We women earn money from making alcohol. The process of making this alcohol is very difficult but it is the only way out as it is the only thing we are allowed to do as well. So it has become a woman’s thing,” Garang Aken said.

Women have been forced to carry out small businesses in order to support themselves especially those who have been widowed.

The procedure for making this local brew is a task that the women have committed themselves to. It is not an easy task but they are determined to make the best out of it.

The loyalty of the consumers is broad. However, home-brewed beer is a declining phenomenon in most of Africa, as consumers adopt modern alternatives nowadays.

Most of the women have educated their children using the money they get from their business. With little or no support at all from government the women are determined to make sure that their families can afford the basic needs.

In Nimule and in Bor, a 600ML bottle of local brew costs 7 South Sudanese pounds compared to a bottle of beer which costs at least 25 pounds.