Guests at the Art Africa Fair's opening night on 24 February may expect to find Leopold7, a Belgian-born speciality craft beer, on sale.
Alexandre Tilmans (Belgium) and Marquis Brown (USA) were both looking for a new business adventure and a change of course from their careers in finance, management and entrepreneurship, respectively. Tilmans had been living in South Africa for seven years before returning to Belgium in 2013 to help establish the first Leopold7 brewery.
Upon returning to South Africa in 2014, he laid the initial foundation for the beer company’s second home in Cape Town. Later in 2014, Brown left New York City for Cape Town to join Tilmans in building Leopold7 amidst the rapidly growing craft beer market.
Although Brown and Tilmans both have distinctively different personalities and professional backgrounds, both come from countries with deep beer cultures. The long history and respected craftsmanship of Belgian beer and brewing and the experimentation, creativity and popularity of American craft beer culture made for interesting informative threads as the duo began their South African beer journey.
How it's made
Made using respected Belgian brewing techniques, Leopold7 goes one step further by introducing high standards of environmental responsibility and sustainability to their production. This includes reducing waste water in the brewery, reusing yeast, and having bottle labels printed directly onto the bottle without using glues or inks that contain heavy metals. The beer itself is also produced using 95% organically farmed ingredients and is completely free of additives and chemicals. Once bottled, Leopold7 has a two year shelf-life.
The extended fermentation and maturation process of nearly three months results in a robust amber-coloured ale with citrusy, floral notes and excellent balance, giving easy drinkability with a notable malt and hop flavour profile.
Brown and Tilmans both share the vision of replicating sustainable breweries, and local production will be underway in the next several months with the brewery following shortly thereafter.
When asked why the brewery has not yet been opened, Tilmans responded by stating, “Marquis and I both have backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business, and although we have found a location and begun preparations for our local brewhouse and tasting room, we both agree that running a brewhouse and tasting room without a certain level of efficiency is not a prudent step. When we first introduced the beer in South Africa nearly two years ago we knew we’d both need to be patient. Having seen the positive response thus far we believe we’re now seeing all the right indications from consumers. Completing and opening the brewery will naturally follow very soon."
Partnering with the Art Africa Fair
Having launched to market in a flurry of activity, Brown and Tilmans invested all their energy in creating a footprint for the beer and didn’t mark the arrival of the beer with a celebration.
“From the beginning, our intention was to associate our beer with creativity and artistic expression — for us, although our forms and mediums are different from that of artists and designers, we share the same passion — it’s ultimately what led to the final recipe and end-product - Leopold7. We have been carving out a niche presence in the arts and design community, and we were proud to have been a partner and the only beer on offer at the Art Africa Fair - Cape Town.
Furthermore, we don’t just want to hang onto the coattails of this community and instead want to really forge a mutually beneficial relationship. Over the last several months we’ve had some major successes — both independently and through collaborations.
Having never formally had a celebration, we felt that it was the perfect moment to formally express who we are and what we stand for — what better way to do it than by collaborating with the community of people whom we’ve already established such strong bonds with”, says Brown.
The result was a brand expression unlike any other. Conceptualised and directed by Chantel Woodman, Leopold7 was a key partner of the first International Public Art Festival in Cape Town, featuring more than 40 artists painting murals in Salt River.
Collaborating with local designers and artists such as Laurie Wiid van Heerden, Paul Senyol, Andrzej Urbanski, Atang Tshikare, Ceramic Matters, Dark Horse, Chapel, the Leopold7 team brings guests to a memorable journey into the “world” of Leopold7.
For more info go to www.leopold7.com