Food relief operation ‘souped up’

What was once a beer brewing operation – well, still is – now also feeds the tummies of Cape Town’s vulnerable people. PHOTO: Long Beach Brewery
What was once a beer brewing operation – well, still is – now also feeds the tummies of Cape Town’s vulnerable people. PHOTO: Long Beach Brewery

An operation which kicked off around the beginning of lockdown last year, still sees local organisations and businesses working together to provide relief to the most vulnerable people in Cape Town.

“It started in the first lockdown because we weren’t able to produce anything else, so we needed to keep ourselves busy. But there’s been such a need for food, so we’ve just kept going,” says the owner of Long Beach Brewery, Charlie Murray.

Initially guided by Andre Viljoen of Woodstock Brewery, who pioneered the idea of cooking soups in beer vats, Murray now runs his own operation from his brewery in Noordhoek and works with local charitable organisations to get the food to where it needs to go.

“We’re working with the Lions Clubs (Tokai and Cape of Good Hope). We make the soup because I’ve got the facility to make 500L a day; so we’re typically doing about 420F for ease of transport and that feeds about 1 200 people. We do the cooking and the Lions Club organises the recipients and beneficiaries,” says Murray.

They make the soup from Tuesday to Thursday each week, starting at around 04:30 and brewing the soup until 11:00. “Then the pump pumps it into a big kettle for distribution. Typically, we service Capricorn, Grassy Park, Lavender Hill and Masiphumelele because some of our staff live there.”

Recently, a local leader and community feeder Nigel Jones gave a special thanks to the organisations and businesses who helped to feed hundreds of families in and around Lavender Hill since the start of the year. On Friday 8 January, Jones wrote on Facebook: “A big shout out to Tokai Lions Club and Woodstock Breweries; 140 loaves of bread and 400F of soup; served 1 070 (people) in Lavender Hill and surrounding areas.”

Then on Wednesday 21 January, he continued to share his appreciation.

“Thanks to Tokai Lions Club, Cape of Good Hope Lions, Long Beach Breweries; 800F of soup served over 2 000 (people).”

To sustain the operation even after the alcohol ban is lifted, Murray is working with Viljoen to find and build a soup kitchen for the Mother Soup Project that is currently running from Woodstock Breweries in collaboration with Great Commission United.

“We’re working on a project to commission a bunch of huge soup vats specifically for making a large amount of soup,” he says.

Murray adds that he and his staff at Long Beach Brewery will continue to produce soup “until there’s no demand for it”.

“It always helps to get a contribution. At the moment, instead of buying beer, some of our patrons will make a donation,” he concludes.

  • To assist, visit the Long Beach Brewery website: or call Charlie Murray on 082 474 9745.

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