Business

This entrepreneur quit her job in gas and oil to make a ginger beer, now it is in big stores

Business Insider SA
The Ghemere grab and go ginger beer. (Image: Ghemere/Facebook)
The Ghemere grab and go ginger beer. (Image: Ghemere/Facebook)
  • After struggling to balance work and taking care of a young family, Mpho Mohaswa quit her job to start her beverage company, Precious and Pearl Brands.
  • The company manufactures ready-to-drink ginger beer and concentrates.
  • It comes convenient for those ginger beer lovers hosting weddings, big events, and funerals who would otherwise have to brew their own for days.
  • Mohaswa’s beverages, after five years of operating, is now stocked in Food Lover’s Market, Pick n Pay, Spar, Takealot, and Makro.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A decision to ditch her corporate job in the oil and gas industry after struggling to balance her work and home life led to Mpho Mohaswa’s venture, a ready-to-drink ginger beer juice that caught the eye of major retailers in the country.

The Limpopo-bred entrepreneur, who grew up in the small town of Burgersfort in the Spekboom River Valley, has a chemical engineering qualification and had a job as a business developer at Air Liquide. 

Her job involved a lot of work-related travel - her husband travelled frequently for work as well. After the birth of their first child Mohaswa left her job in 2017 to focus on the couple's growing family.

“So, we had to compromise, and it had to be me at the time,” Mohaswa said.

Mpho mohaswa
Ghemere founder Mpho Mohaswa. (Image: Supplied/Precious and Pearl Brands)

While she had the ginger beer idea, it was nothing close to solid, and she had to go through a trial-and-error phase that took six months, mixing and developing a formula in her garage.

Soon after, she founded her beverage company, Precious and Pearl Brands, which makes ready-to-drink and concentrate ginger beer under the brand, Ghemere. Ginger beer in South Africa is a quintessential drink enjoyed at ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and other gatherings. It uses yeast as a key ingredient and is typically fermented over a couple of days.

The Ghemere ready-to-drink and concentrate products are a convenient fix for event organisers who would otherwise have to spend days making traditional ginger beer.  

Developing a ginger beer product with a long shelf life was essential for Mohaswa, whose chemical engineering degree came in handy in developing it, she says.

“I had different raw materials that I would test on the product itself. Our ginger beer doesn’t ferment, we don’t use raw materials that make it ferment, we have preservatives in the product,” she said.

Her product landed its first spot on a retail shelf at Food Lover’s Market, where she doorstopped a store manager with product samples. After gaining traction from the Food Lover’s Market deal, she managed to acquire retail shelf space at the likes of Shoprite, Spar, Takealot, and Makro.

It also bagged whiskey brand, Firstwatch’s inaugural entrepreneur’s challenge.

Mohaswa said the company is working on reintroducing a line of flavours for the beverage, which she said had previously been launched prematurely. With its original ginger beer now enjoying steady growth, the time will be ripe to bring in the flavours next year.

The drink will soon come in four more flavours: mango and orange, apple, pineapple, and strawberry.

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