INGWEBU Breweries general manager Nkosana Ndlovu says the beverage maker is confident it will start production of mahewu sometime this month.
The Bulawayo City Council subsidiary last year announced plans to diversify operations from its traditional opaque beer brewing to include the making of the non-alcoholic sorghum mahewu beverage to improve revenue streams.
Ndlovu told Southern Eye Business that the mahewu plant had already been set up and test runs were in progress.
There had been reports that Ingwebu had failed to raise $500 000 for the mahewu plant raising speculation that the project would fall through.
However, Ndlovu blamed the delay on the need to satisfy and attain regulatory requirements.
“What held back production was the need to secure certification from the relevant ministry before the product was made available for consumption by the public,” Ndlovu said.
“It is expected that now that certification has been obtained, the mahewu should be in full production during the month of February 2015.”
Ingwebu has been facing viability problems with chairman Moffat Ndlovu saying the company was struggling under pressure from falling demand for its products and the high cost of operating its antiquated machinery.
Diversification to a mahewu beverage is in line with local trends as Delta Beverages introduced Shumba Maheu in 2012 while Dairiboard introduced Pfuko/Udiwo maheu in 2014.
Delta said the product remained steady in 2014 amid declining volumes for the group’s other products, raising expectations that Ingwebu’s sorghum mahewu could strengthen the stuttering brewer.