They Quit Banking Job to build one of the Renowned Beer brands in South Africa

Phumlani Khulu and Kgotso Mokhatle, co-founders of The First 15 Brewhouse, established their company as a result of their enduring partnership and collaboration. The name “First 15 Brewhouse” creatively amalgamates their shared memories and experiences from their school and sports days, reflecting their profound interests and passions. During their time as students in an English-language high school within an Afrikaans-speaking community, they noticed that rugby teams from other schools displayed “eerste vyftien” on their jerseys. Given their school’s English medium, their jerseys read “First fifteen.” This name harmonizes perfectly with the company’s core values and ethos, emphasizing hard work, teamwork, dedication, and the enjoyment of camaraderie with friends.

While Phumlani Khulu and Kgotso Mokhatle initially pursued careers in the corporate world, their inspiration to start their own brewery was ignited during a visit to a beer yard, where they ordered craft beer. Coincidentally, the beer they selected was crafted by the sister of one of their colleagues. This serendipitous encounter led to deeper conversations about beer in general and the unique lifestyle associated with brewing one’s own beer, ultimately planting the seeds for their brewery venture.

Banking was great but I felt that I could do more. I think it was a matter of fulfilment” Kgotso Mokhatle said to Steven Ndukwu a popular Nigeria Youtuber. “We don’t just give people a beverage, we are trying to convert the novice drinkers into appreciators of a great properly, uniquely crafted beer.” He continued.

Subsequently, their interest in craft beer blossomed, prompting them to delve deeper into the world of South African craft brewing. They embarked on a journey of extensive learning, immersing themselves in every facet of the craft beer industry. Their quest for knowledge led them to voraciously read, engage with industry professionals, attend numerous beer festivals, and converse with influential figures within the sector.

We can produce anything between 250 to about 400 or so bottle of the day today” Phumlani Khulu added.

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During this period, they commenced their brewing journey and began experimenting with their own unique beer recipes. Fortunately, their bold flavors were well-received by enthusiasts. They ventured into innovation, crafting distinctive and captivating tastes while staying true to the essence of beer. Their creations introduced unprecedented varieties to the market while retaining that unmistakable “beerie” essence. The end goal was to produce brews that retained the core beer flavor while delighting and tantalizing the palate.

Kgotso explained, “We basically use our best ingredients in all our products. Any sort of product or brand that produces what is termed world-class in terms of ingredient is what we use“.

The brewery’s headquarters now reside in Johannesburg’s vibrant Newtown neighborhood, chosen deliberately due to its alignment with their target market both presently and in the future, as determined through careful research. Meticulous attention was paid to selecting top-notch furnishings and equipment. With a strong foundation rooted in determination, business savvy, and an unwavering passion, First 15 Brewhouse is set to open its doors in this entrepreneurial hub.

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