THE South African Brewery (SAB) and AB InBev Africa have invested R438 million in a brand new production line operated predominantly by local women. The new line has created employment for 14 local people, mostly women, who operate the line over several shifts. Another 40 people are expected to be employed when the line operates at its full capacity.“This investment will empower our employees to do what they do best – brewing the best quality beer, innovating and ensuring that we do so in a way that will drive sustainable growth. The new production line will help to create jobs and encourages foreign investment, which is not going to happen if domestic investment does not take place,” said Ricardo Tadeu, Zone President of SAB and AB InBev Africa.The construction of the new line at Ibhayi Brewery began in March this year and was completed within seven months. It officially went online and produced its first batch of beer in October. The new 6000m2 line adds an annual capacity of 500 000 hectolitres to the current approximate 1.8 million hectolitre capacity of Ibhayi Brewery for 2018/2019.There are now a total of two production lines at the Port Elizabeth-based brewery. The Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle, highlighted that the need for employment in the Eastern Cape province is of high importance and praised SAB for creating and sustaining jobs. “This new investment comes at an opportune time for the country and province specifically. We appreciate this new develop by SAB and AB InBev. It is a cause for celebration. The world is changing and I’m most profound that women forms part of that change,” Masualle said. Ibhayi Brewery now employs a total of 152 people, operating the two production lines over several shifts. The local women operating the new production line, pointed out that they welcome the new challenge and are excited for the journey ahead.“Working at the new production line has its challenges, but I’m extremely excited for this new chapter. As a woman, I have to adapt to this working environment, but I come to work everyday with a smile on my face,” said Anathi Baninzi.The new line currently produces SAB’s recently introduced 1-litre Castle Lager and Carling Black Label returnable glass bottles at 34 500 bottles per hour. It is expected that Castle Lite’s 910ml returnable glass bottle will run on the line from early 2019.The Ibhayi Brewery warehouse is also being expanded to accommodate the increased volume being produced with the introduction of the new packaging line, adding another 2000m2 to the plant.