Despite the challenges facing the South African alcohol industry at the moment, there are good news stories. Bayede! Marketing, a level two BBBEE company based in Paarl, is one such example. Says CEO, Antoinette Vermooten, “2020 made us streamline our business to save on costs. We also changed our sales strategy and put significant efforts into our online store and exports.”
Bayede!, endorsed by the late HM King Goodwill Zwelithini, is a diverse business, selling liquor, coffee, olive oil and vinegar. Vermooten further explains, “We value relationships and with our partners we have been able to survive the three alcohol sales bans and even seen some growth and created employment.”
Long-time industry partners Van Loveren Vineyards, Imbuku and Oude Molen Distillers have been key to Bayede’s recent endeavours. The Joint Venture partners support their job creation initiatives.
Bayede! sources the ethnic beadwork it uses to embellish its products, from 25 women across rural South Africa. Antoinette elaborates, “I believe in women empowerment and the principle of “Ubuntu”. The monies from the beadwork are their only source of income.” A boon for its job creation projects was the recent inclusion of beaded neckpieces in the USA based Mana boxes. A Mana box consists of handmade lifestyle goods created by women from the USA and South Africa and is sold as a subscription.
Another partner is the SA Wine Industry Transformation Unit (SAWITU). “The emotional support received from Operations Manager, Wendy Petersen since the start of the pandemic has been invaluable”, says Vermooten “and the financial support helped us to quickly pivot and develop our export business”. SAWITU supports black-owned wine brands and generates and promotes equitable access within the wine value chain. “In order to stay abreast, brands must find innovative ways of doing business, try different ways of connecting with consumers and invest in long- term focused initiatives and agreements that will result in business growth and sustainability,” says Petersen.
Bayede! has fulfilled orders across the globe over the last couple of months for its liquor products, with deals from the USA, Canada, Germany, UAE, Ethiopia, India and China.
“We are very proud that our Bayede! King Shaka Zulu Pinotage and Chenin blank as well as our Bayede! Royal XO Cape Brandy received double gold medals in the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Competition,” says Vermooten.
Although the uncertainties of the pandemic will continue to influence business decisions, the future looks very promising for this dynamic brand.