It was a chilly Saturday afternoon at Grandaddy’s in the heart of Salama Park, as Kazuma Enterprises Ltd, the largest importer of premium beverages in Zambia launched two new beers onto the Zambian market: Tafel Lager and Tafel Lite. When I walked into the venue I was greeted by the lush green landscaping of Grandaddys’ outdoor seating area as the sweet aroma of grilled sizzling steaks and chicken wings that Grandaddys is most famous for lingered in the air, working up my appetite.
Zambians are known to appreciate high quality, well-crafted beer. So it came as no surprise to see patrons coming out in large numbers to one of their favorite chill spots to get their first taste of the new beer on the block. It was a red affair as management, staff and patrons alike were decked out in the vibrant colour, sticking to the theme of the launch.
A few minutes after my arrival I met Sasha Maglov, CEO of Kazuma Enterprises Ltd, and he was kind enough to lead me into the back lounge reserved for special guests, where he had a table just for me with a bucket of Tafel Lager and Tafel Lite. This was accompanied by the famous Grandaddy’s Big Bwana platter. It was a warm reception fitting for a big bwana such as myself, or at least the bwana I imagine myself to be.
While in the lounge Sasha introduced me to members of the Kazuma and Namibia Breweries family, all very sincere and inviting people who were excited to have me and the other patrons at the event. One of the people I was introduced to in the lounge was DeWet Louw, a specialist in export sales for Namibia Breweries Ltd, and he ran me through a brief history of the Tafel brand. “The word ‘tafel’ is the Afrikaans word for table. The brand originates in Namibia, and had its first ever batch of lager brewed in 1928, in the small coastal town of Swakopmund,” DeWet explains. “Its variant, Tafel Lite, was introduced on the market in 2016 as an alternative offering for the more health conscious consumer, with 27 percent fewer carbohydrates per 100ml compared to a regular Tafel lager. It’s the same bold Tafel taste, with fewer carbs. Standing proudly at the top of every Tafel beer’s label is a crest that represents the Tafel heritage, its roots and the source of its finest quality. It all starts with the ship in the middle of the crest, representing the voyage of the very first brewers arriving on the coast of Namibia, the home of Finest Tafel.”
Namibia Breweries takes pride in their product, and it was evident in the way that DeWet carefully explained it to me. He took me through the brewing process and laid out how Tafel beer remains true to the Reinheitsgebot brewing principles that date all the way back to 1516, first introduced by Duke Vellem of Belgium. Reinheitsgebot, which can be loosely translated to mean ‘purity order’ in German, ensures that Tafel is only brewed with three ingredients: malted barley, hops and water, to maintain the purity of the beer giving it its wholesome flavor and aroma. A taste that can only be described as the ideal balance between refreshment, flavour and bitterness; making it the perfect companion for any occasion.
I also got to speak with Joshua Muleya, brand manager for Kazuma Enterprises, who couldn’t hold in his excitement at introducing the Tafel brand into the country. “Tafel Lager is one of the old brands out of Namibia Breweries. We have flagship brands like Windhoek Lager and Windhoek Draught, and I guess you could say that Tafel is pretty much those two’s first cousin. Zambia is the second country after South Africa where Tafel has launched outside of Namibia. We are so happy to have it on the Zambian market. It’s definitely a huge milestone for us,” Joshua shared.
It was apparent by the number of buckets and towers being ordered that Tafel was off to a great launch and had easily won the favor of the great people of this beer loving nation. Much like Namibians and South Africans, Zambians love nothing more than to enjoy a crisp ice cold beer with good food, uplifting music and great company through any weather.
All in all, the story of Tafel is about a region and a beer growing and developing together. As the brand spreads to Zambia, a larger group of proud peoples with rich cultures celebrate their freedom and diversity, while enjoying their Tafels. And after experiencing the Tafel brand and the people behind it for myself, one thing is for sure, Tafel is a beer that has found its new home in Zambia.