World University Rankings - Top 100

First for SAB and SA to win Master Brewer Award

First for SAB and SA to win Master Brewer Award


Media statement by Prof Nqabomzi Gawe, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Institutional Support at the Durban University of Technology

Vanitha Engelbrecht has been the first in the history of the South African Breweries Limited to receive the James S Hough Award after passing the Master Brewer Examinations with distinction. This is a prestigious award granted by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), which is an independent organisation/body based in the UK and that specializes in brewing and distilling worldwide. As the winner she received 1000 pounds and an engraved quaich (shallow two-handled drinking bowl).

Engelbrecht has a BTech degree from the Durban University of Technology and is a Brewing Area Manager at the South African Breweries Limited. She excelled in her Diploma Master Brewer examination which consists of 5 papers that cover value chain management from Brewing Raw Materials to Packaging including Utilities, Finance and Environmental management. A recommendation for the James S Hough Award is made by the IBD Board of Examiners for the candidate who achieves the highest pass in all four modules, plus the Case Study Paper, of the Master Brewer examination. Awarded to the highest distinction at M.Brew(Diploma Master Brewer). This award is open to all M.Brew candidates. The Board of Examiners are responsible for selecting the winner, based on examination results.

“It is the highest honour one can receive. I am the only person in SAB (South African Breweries) LTD to have won this award. This is a very prestigious award that is not awarded every year. My name will now be written in gold on a wooden roll of honour board in the IBD’s meeting room in Mayfair, London. I was invited to the United Kingdom as a VIP to collect my award at an Awards Dinner,” comments delighted Engelbrecht. She wrote two exam papers in 2007 and three papers in 2009. I took a break in 2008 to have my son who is now three years old. Her son, Joshua was 14 months old when she wrote the last three papers. That was definitely a challenge for her husband and her. However she thanks her husband for his support throughout her studies.

She advises that to be a brewer one can choose quite a few jobs within SAB. She chose to move into Line Management. She has managed all the brewing areas within SAB, namely brewhouse, cellars and filtration. She says a line manager is responsible for the overall quality, cost, delivery, morale and safety of a specific area. She adds that it is definitely a specialized field as a graduate straight from school will not be able to manage a brewing area. She was awarded a bursary from SAB and on completion of her university studies, she joined SAB in 2002. She started off as a technical trainee whereby she completed a brewing traineeship as well as an engineering traineeship within two years. She was the first and only person to have completed two traineeships within SAB in South Africa.

Moving upwardly through the ranks in the SAB plants, she then moved to Port Elizabeth in 2004 where she worked as a project engineer in the engineering department and team leader in the packaging department. She spent a year in PE before moving to Joburg. She initially worked at the Rosslyn Brewery in Pretoria where she worked as Process Engineer, Cellars Area Manager and then Filtration Area Manager. In 2010 she moved to the Johannesburg Brewery, Alrode Brewery, where she worked as the Filtration Area Manager, then the Brewhouse Area Manager and she is currently the Cellars Area Manager. In between her roles at Alrode Brewery, she was seconded to Prospecton Brewery in KZN where she acted as Brewmaster for four months.
Current and Previous Recipients of James S Hough Award:
2009 – Vanitha Engelbrecht, South African Breweries, Johannesburg, RSA
2005 – Stephen Gilsenan, Diageo Global Supply, UK
2001 – Yvonne Simpson, UK
1991 – Derek George Orford, Tooheys Pty Limited, Australia

Background information on James S Hough Award
A trust was established in 1985 by the University of Birmingham, the aims of which are to invest the donations received to provide income for the James S Hough Prize. The J S Hough award is bestowed by the University of Birmingham, on the recommendation of the IBD Board of Examiners, for the Master Brewer (formerly the Diploma) examinations for the most outstanding performance. The residue of income is to be used to promote the academic, or applied interests, of the past and present students of the British School of Malting and Brewing at the University of Birmingham.

For interview, please contact Bhekani Dlamini on 031 373 2845 to facilitate the interview.