SOUTH AFRICA – The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) has announced the appointment of Charlene Louw as its new chief executive officer, succeeding Patricia Pillay, who steps down from the role.

Louw’s appointment comes as BASA continues to champion the vital role of the beer industry in South Africa’s economy, culture, and heritage. 

With over 20 years of experience in commercial and corporate law, Louw brings a wealth of expertise to her new role

Having held senior positions in the energy and private security sectors, as well as leadership roles in public-facing entities like the Road Accident Fund and Pikitup, Louw is well-equipped to navigate complex stakeholder engagements and regulatory environments. 

Patricia Pillay expressed confidence in Louw’s leadership, highlighting her ability to engage with members and stakeholders effectively.  

Pillay stated, “Charlene brings with her a new energy to BASA. She understands how important reaching out to members and key stakeholders is to ensure the best outcome for the beer industry.” 

The beer industry is a significant contributor to South Africa’s economy, generating over R70 billion (US$3.76B) in gross value added (GVA) to the country’s GDP.  

Louw emphasized the economic value of beer and its cultural significance in South Africa. She stated, “It is an honor to help shape this vital industry’s goals and priorities and continue to showcase the economic value of beer.” 

Louw also emphasized her vision for BASA, which includes a renewed focus on promoting responsible drinking. She highlighted beer as a low-alcohol option compared to other alcoholic beverages and stressed the importance of enjoying it mindfully. 

Furthermore, Louw outlined BASA’s commitment to fostering a regulatory and legislative environment that supports the industry’s growth and job creation.  

The appointment comes in light of BASA’s recent call for a 4.9 percent excise increase for beer in line with projected inflation, ahead of this year’s Budget Speech. 

BASA welcomed past budget cycles’ excise adjustments aligned with projected inflation, citing the importance of tax certainty for the industry.  

The association emphasized the significance of excise adjustments in enabling the industry to continue contributing substantially to the national economy. 

The association said: “The beer industry operates under a large and complex manufacturing ecosystem that relies on tax certainty emanating from excise duties to plan to optimize our high, fixed costs.  

We find it important to speak on excise adjustments, as it is an essential factor in allowing us to continue making a considerable contribution to the national economy.” 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. HERE