Internship opens doors for beer brewer

Itumeleng Melesi.
Itumeleng Melesi.
Image: Supplied.

Bloemfontein’s Itumeleng Melesi (26) has good reason to raise a glass in a celebratory toast.

He has created his own craft beer, Rooted Premium Lager, and has dreams of seeing it become a name that rolls smoothly off the tongues of beer lovers.

As a young Bachelor of Agriculture in Crop Management graduate from the University of the Free State, Melesi received an internship through the then Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Following the completion of his internship he opted to start his own beer brand.

The bright idea came while enjoying a beer. A period of intense research followed, with Melesi spending hours on Google and YouTube, reading everything he could on brewing beer.

He bought books and obtained basic equipment so he could begin experimenting with recipes. “It was a lot of trial and error but I finally hit the mark,” he said.

He went on to seek  manufacturing and bottling facilities,  and this is when the first Rooted Premium Lager hit the market.

Melesi plans to supply high-end restaurants with his Rooted Larger.

“My target is people who are not money conscious. It’s people who are willing to explore different tastes and are willing to pay for a premium product.”

Melesi credits  his mother, Malehlohonolo, who made his dream a reality by giving him the R6000 capital he needed to get started.

“I have big plans for Rooted Premium Lager. I want it to be world renowned; it should be represented at world tasting sessions and be popular here at home. I want people to enjoy my product.”

Currently, the lager is only available in bottles, but Melesi plans to add tins to target festival-goers.

“I want the manufacturing of my lager to remain in Bloemfontein to help create jobs for locals and help put the city on the map,” he said.

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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