It was as we entered lockdown on 30th March 2020 that Andre Viljoen, the owner of Woodstock Brewery, started figuring out a way that he could help those most desperate, yet at the same time keep the wheels of commerce turning.

This successful brewery has become a popular spot for those who love their local beer and food.  Not only do they serve a great brew or two, but many patrons fall in love with the ambiance and menu available in their on-site restaurant.  Andre started brewing beer in June 2014 and the brewery has now grown to a staff of 13.


How did he go from brewing pilsners and lagers to cooking up tasty, nutritious food?

So how did Andre adapt and pivot to the current situation? How did this brewery use it’s resources to not only keep his staff employed, but to meet the needs of surrounding communities? How did he go from brewing pilsners and lagers to cooking up tasty, nutritious food?

The upstairs dining area of the brewerey is now being used as the vegetable preparation area for this lockdown venture: making soup in their huge brewing pots. Andre surmises that at full capacity they will produce 4 x 5000 litres per day. In two weeks of operating, he is already bulk buying 14 tons of vegetables at a time, from the Epping Market.

From their fundraising website, Andre had this to say: “The situation has become critical. You have seen the dejection on the faces of our neighbours in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Langa, and Dunoon on the news.  You have read the stories all over your timeline.  You know what starvation and desperation can do to someone who had the bare minimum to start with.”

Here is that opportunity

“If you’re like most of us, you’ve been sitting safely at home doing what you can to get by.  You have been waiting for an opportunity to make a difference – to change lives and to be the best version of ourselves – but haven’t known quite how to do so. Here is that opportunity. We have turned our Woodstock Brewery into a soup kitchen.  All we need to feed tens of thousands of Saffers is you!”

Woodstock Brewery is working closely with The City of Cape Town Disaster Management Services who ensure the delivery of this urgently-needed food into usually dangerous areas. The factory must adhere to very strict lockdown regulations and have had to apply for a separate certificate of “Acceptability” to perform this essential service of food production.

Find out how you can become a food hero too.

Woodstock Brewery has set up an online option to participate in their efforts.  Visit their website and find out how you can become a food hero too. There is so much need and your R100 will help feed 30 very hungry citizens with wholesome vegetable soup. The brewery is working closely with a registered dietician to ensure they achieve a well-balanced meal.

A final note to the #ImStaying family, who Andre knows are extremely caring.  To all the business-minded members he says, “We need to do our best, to do our best within the law, to maintain the supply chain, because knowledge and industry exist for a reason and breaking this will kill the economy.”

His passion for creating and maintaining a supply chain during this time of upheaval is very important. It can be done.

It is being done – he is doing it!

Edited by:  Michelle Pagel