Botswana Beer

Today in 1966, Botswana gained their Independence from the United Kingdom.


Botswana Breweries

Botswana Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guild: None Known

National Regulatory Agency: None

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Not Known

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.08%


  • Full Name: Republic of Botswana
  • Location: Southern Africa, north of South Africa
  • Government Type: Parliamentary Republic
  • Language: Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English (official) 2.1%, other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4%
  • Religion(s): Christian 71.6%, Badimo 6%, other 1.4%, unspecified 0.4%, none 20.6%
  • Capital: Gaborone
  • Population: 2,098,018; 144th
  • Area: 581,730 sq km, 48th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than Texas
  • National Food: Seswaa
  • National Symbol: Zebra
  • Affiliations: UN, African Union, Commonwealth
  • Independence: From the UK, September 30, 1966


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 18
  • BAC: 0.08%
  • Number of Breweries: 2


  • How to Say “Beer”: bojalwa
  • How to Order a Beer: nngwe bojalwa, ke a leboga
  • How to Say “Cheers”: kemopholo
  • Toasting Etiquette: N/A


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 57%
  • Wine: <1%
  • Spirits: <1%
  • Other: 41%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 4.96
  • Unrecorded: 3.00
  • Total: 7.96
  • Beer: 2.56

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 5 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Decrease
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 21
  • Sales Restrictions: Time, location, specific events, petrol stations
  • Advertising Restrictions: Yes
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: No

Patterns of Drinking Score: 3

Prohibition: None


My BFF Beer


Canada’s Random House Publishing runs an interesting website called Hazlitt, where, presumably, they feature their own authors on a variety of topics. The one that caught my attention was by Linda Besner, and it’s an essay about My Best Friend, beer.

She begins by claiming that mankind has been “thinking and talking about beer since 4000 B.C.” She’s only off by as much 5,500 years, since brewing is believed to have begun with the “advent of agriculture in the Neolithic Period of the Stone Age about 11,500 years ago.” I don’t want to dwell on that, because we haven’t even gotten to the meat of it, but it did make me initially skeptical.

The story concerns a study that examined beer commercials from both the U.S. and the Ukraine, described as a “cross-cultural study of beer’s metaphors.” Again, I’m quibbling a bit, because the researchers looked at a total of 37 ads from both nations, not exactly a large number, but the author credits them with having “seen a lot of beer commercials.” I think the average consumer might see nearly that many during the average football game, or certainly over the course of a Sunday watching sports in general. But okay, let’s let them make their point. What did they find?

“While the personification of beer is consistent from Ukrainian to U.S. commercials, it seems to me that the kind of person beer is in Ukraine is different from the kind of person beer is in the States.”

In the Ukrainian commercials, the study notes, “people do not become friends by sharing beer; rather beer drinking occurs among individuals who are already established as friends, which entails a close and trusting relationship.” The people drinking beer together are described as druh, which Dr. Lantolf translates as being like the English concept of “best friend,” rather than tovarysch, which translates as “comrade” or “acquaintance.”

In the United States, it’s almost the opposite. Apparently, we use the term “friend” rather loosely, calling people we hardly know, or have just met, our friends. In other words, many of our friends are more superficial, at least compared to how Ukrainians see them.

To illustrate, they give the example of a Budweiser commercial currently up on YouTube under the name “Magic Beer.” A young man sits alone at a bar, opening a bottle. He pours it into his glass, but, miraculously, once the glass is full, beer continues to spill forth. Quickly, he pours some of the excess beer into the glasses of the men next to him. In the next shot, the bar is packed with carousers dancing to a live Scottish band as beer continues to gush from the magic bottle. The erstwhile lonely young man dances between his new friends, a beatific look on his face. Then he drops the bottle. It smashes on the floor, and the flow of beer trickles to nothing amid ghastly silence. The outraged people around him glare daggers. Those closest to him turn and walk away.

Frankly, I hate these ads. They’re not just superficial, they’re utterly ridiculous. Saying they’re depicting how typical Americans act, or view friendship, seems like quite a leap. I think it says more about the advertisers than the consumers, and maybe even a little about the researchers that they think idealized commercials reflect real life.

Even if I accept the premise, that that may be how some people see their “friends,” I’ve never considered such people my friends. Fair-weather friends, perhaps, but that’s a rather derogatory expression. Is it possible I’m not typical? No, I don’t think so, because I’m pretty sure most of the people I know well feel roughly the same way.

I love beer. I make my living writing about it, reviewing, analyzing it, along with the people and companies who make, sell and market it. I have admittedly made friends, to varying degrees, with actual people who work in the industry. But I’d never mistake the beer itself as my friend. It’s an inanimate object, after all. I may love beer, but in the same way I love potato chips or frites. It’s not the same as another person. Doesn’t everyone know the difference?


Not according to the study, apparently. To wit:

It seems that not only do Americans see beer as a person, they see beer as a person other people like better than them. In this scenario, beer is the cool friend you bring to the party who makes you popular by association. As soon as your cool friend leaves, no one wants to hang out with you anymore. It’s doubtful, Dr. Lantolf says, that the producers of “Magic Beer” and other commercials are consciously depicting shallow friendships: “I think that what they were showing is how Americans typically behave.: Dr. Bobrova is originally from the Ukraine, and she says, “I didn’t expect that American commercials would show this superficial concept of American friendships. I have many friends in the U.S. and we spend time together and I share everything with them as with Ukrainian friends. But commercials show a little bit of a different picture. But then,” she adds, “I’m not a beer person.”

Should I be insulted by that? I’m really not sure. I don’t believe that’s “how Americans typically behave.” Sure, there are certainly superficial people in the world, and I’d be willing to accept that a lot of them live here in the States, but I don’t think it’s something most people aspire too. I don’t think Americans view superficiality as a positive attribute. So when the researchers say they think “Americans see beer as a person,” it’s the people in the commercials who may “see beer as a person,” but they’re not real. They’re actors. It’s not the same thing. The advertisers are projecting an image onto the characters to sell us something. It’s not necessarily a reflection of real people, or real life. Am I off base here?

I know many Canadians quietly don’t think too much of their neighbors, and there are certainly times when I agree with them, at least about how we sometimes behave and view the world. But this one I just don’t quite understand. The author of the piece, Linda Besner, is a poet from Quebec who recently published her first collection, The Id Kid. And they may be fine poems, “sassy and sumptuous,” as her publisher describes them, but I can’t help but think she doesn’t know human nature as well as she might think. But the researchers have even more to answer for, since they’re from the University of Pennsylvania, the same school where Patrick McGovern, author of Uncorking the Past, does his research and teaches.

In the end, however effective advertising can be, I tend to think most people know the difference between it and real life. My old hometown beer — Reading Premium Beer — used to advertise with the wonderful slogan: “The Friendly Beer for Modern People.” I love that phrase, but it’s utterly meaningless. I don’t think beer can be friendly, any more than my cat actually likes me when I rub her belly. Oh, sure, it looks likes she’s smiling, but I know she really thinks of me as the hired help. But actual personification, or anthropomorphisation in the case of my feline companions, of beer is ultimately just as futile. It’s just the advertisers trying to project — maybe that needs a new word: advermorphisation — human characteristics onto inanimate objects. Beer will never be my BFF. The people I drink beer with? Those are my people, my true BFFs.


Politics & Big Beer Brands

Here’s a curious piece of data, showing how which big beer brand you prefer may determine how likely you are to vote in the upcoming election and whether you lean more to the Democratic side of the aisle, or the Republican. The poll was conducted by Scarborough Research and the results written up in the National Journal as What Your Beer Says About Your Politics.

But it’s only the big brands that were tallied, the domestics and the most popular imports. The only one close to craft is Samuel Adams, who in most people’s mind, I think, is straddling both worlds right now. Even so, there are a few surprising results, at least to my mind. I would not have thought, for example, Samuel Adams drinkers would skew so heavily Republican. Maybe it’s the naked jingoism, the patriotic perception of the brand, I don’t know.

The other one that surprised me was that Heineken skewed so far on the Democratic side. I tend to think of Heineken as a brand that people who don’t know any better think is a high end, premium brand, in the same way bald, middle-aged men drive Corvettes to recapture their youth, not realizing it’s no longer the hip car it once was. But maybe that’s just my own bias. In any sort of polling, I rarely fall under the “typical” findings.

Take a look at the chart below and see what you think. Does it make sense to you?

The chart is tough to see this small, but you can see it full size, or look at on the original National Journal post.

Beer From Beard Yeast, Yes; From Vaginas, No

You most likely remember that Rogue harvested some yeast from the beard of their longtime brewmaster, John Maier, and White Labs analyzed it and propagated a brewing yeast that Rogue in turn used to brew a beer with. Not everyone responded favorably to the news, but in terms of attention and publicity, it’s been a huge hit, with almost every news agency, website and blog writing about it. I made it the subject of part of one of my newspaper columns back in July. A Google search of “rogue beard beer” turns up over 1.4 million hits.

But just when you think things can’t get any weirder, my wife — who’s been working in Shanghai this week — just sent me an article from a feminist blog she reads regularly, Jezebel. Inspired by John Maier’s beard beer exploits, they wrote an article about one more place known for its occasional yeast production that we can write off as a place to harvest for brewing. The article, entitled Just So You Know, You Can’t Make Beer With Your Vagina, answers the question I’m not sure anyone was asking. But now that I know there is an answer, I can’t look away. It’s like that car crash on the side of the road. I know I shouldn’t look, but I just can’t help myself.

Beginning with the premise that “[y]east is everywhere, even (as we ladies well know) buried deep inside our vaginas, waiting to go bad and ruin our week at any moment,” they wonder if anyone could “turn a yeast infection into a full-bodied IPA.” At this point, I’ll let author
Madeleine Davies share the results.

We did some research and, in a word, no. The yeast used in beer is a completely different strain of yeast than the one that causes yeast infections. And there goes your artisanal brewery idea!

The yeast used in beer is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and works by converting carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and alcohols. This is also the yeast used in bread, which is why baking yeast can be used to brew beer, though it generally makes the end product doughy in flavor and texture. Yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans, a fungus that grows as both yeast and filamentous cells and can cause oral and genital infections in humans. Using this to brew would be entirely ineffective, not to mention, guh-ross.

So there you have it. No vagina beer. I, for one, am relieved. It was one thing to have Sam Calagione and his team spitting in his Peruvian-style chicha beer, and Maier’s beard never bothered me too much, because White Labs removed any lingering ick factor by growing the yeast in their San Diego lab. But in the on-going quest to push the envelope, generate publicity and maybe even make something worth drinking, this may be crossing a line. What do you think?

Close, but no vagina.

Beer Institute Releases Results Of New Beer Drinkers Poll

According to the Beer Institute (BI), recent economic analysis has revealed “that brewing and importing accounted for $223.8 billion in the economic output of the United States — with employees earning nearly $71.2 billion wages and benefits, and generating more than $44 billion taxes. In 2010, the last year tax statistics were available, 45 percent of what every beer drinker paid for a beer went to taxes of some kind, which “makes taxes the most expensive ingredient in your beer,” Joe McClain, president of the BI, stated.

The Beer Institute has just released a national poll of 1,000 likely voters, which found strong opposition to increasing taxes on beer. Nine out of 10 voters in the poll agreed that “raising taxes on beer will mean working class consumers will have to pay more.”

The poll also found that self-identified “beer drinkers” are a larger proportion of the electorate than self-identified supporters of either the Tea Party of Occupy Wall Street movement, and were evenly split between Republican and Democratic parties.

Beer drinkers are also more political than the average likely voter:

  • 68 percent of regular beer drinkers say they discuss what’s going on in the presidential campaign with friends or co-workers.
  • 66 percent of regular beer drinkers say they are going to be watching the presidential debates, meaning they are more likely to watch presidential debates than watch the World Series or an NFL game.
  • 25 percent say they will likely donate or contribute money to a political party, cause, or candidate running for public office.
  • 14 percent (or one out of seven) beer drinkers say they will likely volunteer for a political party, cause, or on the campaign for a candidate running this year.

65 Major Brewery Projects In The Works

According to a press release by the Industrial Info Resources, there are at least “65 major capital and maintenance projects in the beer brewing segment that are under development or recently have started construction.” The public press release is very short, more of a tease really, as they want you to become a member and subscribe to their information. For just $5.95, I could read the terse 290-word press release, or instead I can tell you what they’re willing to tell is for free.

SUGAR LAND–September 27, 2012—Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)—Beer brewers, both large and small, are pouring investments into building new facilities and expanding existing operations to the tune of more than $800 million. Industrial Info has uncovered more than 65 major capital and maintenance projects in the beer brewing segment that are under development or recently have started construction. Project investment values range from $1 million to just more than $100 million.

European Breweries Map

Pop Chart Lab, who have tackled beer before in graphic form, have just released their newest creation, a map of the Breweries of Europe. At their website, it’s an interactive map, and you can also purchase a poster of it. As Charlie Papazian points out (in his Tweet where I learned about the map), it’s “not complete but pretty good.” It’s hard to see the detail when it’s small, but at Pop Chart Lab’s website, the map is interactive, so you can zoom in to see all of the detail.


Beer In Ads #702: No Deposit, No Sediment

Wednesday’s ad makes quite some bold claims. It appears to be a 19th century ad for the newly modernized Notting Hill Brewery Co., which had just started a “revolution in English Bottled Beer Produced Entirely on a New System.” I especially love the twin banners, that don’t quite seem to work together: “No Deposit” and “No Sediment.”