Young entrepreneurs take on craft industry

28-year-old accountant, Mpho Mosholi, holds bottles of FiftyOne Premium Cider, a blend of apple and cranberry. PHOTO: NOMAQHAWE MTEBELE

FiftyOne is Bloemfontein’s offering to the craft beverage movement. The cider is a deliciously refreshing blend of cranberry and apple as well as the brainchild of cousins Mpho Mosholi and Lehlohonolo Mathabola. The duo began making the drink from their kitchen in 2017 before producing it from a local brewery in order to meet a growing demand for the cider.

Mosholi (28), an accountant by profession, explained that the journey has been filled with trial and error but the passion for their product has made it all worthwhile. “There are times when you are thrown in at the deep end. Before we obtained our distribution and manufacturing licence for our brewery, we were turned down so many times. However, when you have persistence and find a way to get back-up, opportunities open up for you,” he said.

The two are proud of their roots as FiftyOne is named after Bloemfontein’s area code, 051. They took part in the ENGEN Pitch and Polish last month, where they walked away with a cash prize for their product and business pitch. “We have been quite busy with events in the Free State and Gauteng as more people have had a taste of our cider,” said Mosholi. Social media has also given the company a boost in exposure through celebrity retweets, likes and shares.

The dark, fruity alcoholic beverage is not just for the craft drink lover but for anyone who enjoys a refreshing cider. “We established a type of taste that would be enjoyed by both beer and wine drinkers as well as those who prefer sweet drinks. The taste of FiftyOne is a great blend of the sweet and the bitter,” Mosholi passionately explained. The company is wholly funded by the two cousins who run every part of the operation except producing the drink. This is done by a brewery in the local industrial area, New East End, which is able to meet growing capacity.

He believes that hard work and perseverance are key in order to realise success. “You have to work hard to achieve anything that you want in life. Funding is not always available from government or investors so you have to sacrifice a lot, especially time,” elaborated Mosholi. To get your hands on a bottle or two, call 079-125-5952 or find them on Facebook at FiftyOne.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele