Janine van Wulven WomenInMarketing interview series
Women In Marketing,  South Africa

Women In Marketing Interview | Janine van Wulven from Beerhouse

“Roll with the punches. The only constant in our lives right now is change. So just keep adapting and use this as your perfect opportunity to change the world.”

Janine van Wulven

Janine started out as a bartender at Beerhouse and now heads marketing as well as events for the lifestyle brewery. Definition of working your way to the top! Cheers! Let’s dive into this segment of Women In Marketing


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career in marketing? How’d you end up at Beerhouse?

I started working at Beerhouse as a bartender when I was finishing up my Film degree at AFDA in 2013. I ended up falling in love with the hospitality industry and especially with the people that I worked with and what Beerhouse stood for.

Over my 7 years working for Beerhouse, I have been on unique career development. I was the General Manager of Beerhouse on Long for 2 years from 2016 – 2018 and then early 2019 moving into the head office as the events and marketing manager and now working as the Group Operations Manager while still looking after events & marketing. 

Janine van Wulven, Women In Marketing

What have you learned at Beerhouse that you had not learned at previous companies?

Beerhouse has been my entire professional career experience, however, I have learnt the value of people. Working in a team of passionate people from different cultures and backgrounds is one of the best experiences that you can have. Beerhouse isn’t just a beer bar. Nothing is off-limits, so the number of different projects we try, it feels like you are working for 4 different companies. 

As a woman in the marketing and communications environment, what challenges do you face within and outside the organisation? What message do you have for other female professionals in the fraternity?

I think being a YOUNG female in a senior role, we very often get overlooked with meetings with people who are outside the organisation. They don’t realise we are the girl bosses that are actually running the businesses, especially in a male-dominated industry like the beer industry.

I would love to see more females taking over these ‘male-dominated’ industries and would encourage all female professionals to keep working hard. If you are at the right company it won’t go unnoticed. It will take everything you have to get to the top, literally your blood, sweat and tears, but it is all worth it to see everything that you have accomplished. And don’t forget to share your learnings with as many people as you can. It won’t feel like work when you are passionate about the organisation and the team that you work with.


What does your typical day of work look like? How does your calendar look and are you a coffee or tea kind of person?

A typical day before lockdown started at 5 am, to avoid morning traffic.

Get into the office to see what fires to put out first and plan the rest of my day. Early morning is the best time to catch up on admin work as there are few distractions. Depending on the day, we have meetings, plannings and strategies as well as to work on big projects. Definitely a good Cape Town cappuccino (we are really spoilt with great coffee in Cape Town’s CBD). 

Forbes has an annual ‘The World’s Most Influential CMOs’ report. For the year 2019, one of the key highlights from the report was that 31 of the 50 CMOs were women whilst there were 19 men. In your opinion, is this a positive representation of gender equality?

I think that is extremely encouraging seeing so many women listed. I do think there is still so much more work to be done on gender equality across all workforces and we still have a long way to go on the topic of equal pay. 

Closely linked to the previous question, several studies reveal that women account for the majority of purchase decisions including traditional male products such as automobiles, consumer electronics as well as home improvement products. Despite this, surveys further show that advertisers still do not understand women. Why do you think this is the case and what should change if research says that 50 of the most influential CMOs are in fact, women?

I think the advertising rules of ‘what works’ has been so ingrained in our society that it is extremely challenging to change the way that we think. Even with the so many women being on the most influential list – it is still a constant battle to change the status quo. 

COVID-19 has been a disruption to a number of organisations. So much that several businesses, small and big alike either having to cut down on staff or being forced to close down. On the same token, however, several organisations have used this time to regroup and use this as an opportunity for change in structure and processes. How has your organisation and specifically, your department, countered against the impact brought by the pandemic?

It has been important for us to humanise our brand even further. We are a small organisation compared to our greater industry and are owed by one owner who we all know personally. It was important for us to try and look after our own first and then the vulnerable communities that surround us. 

Systems around remote work and video conferencing are increasingly becoming a staple to most organisations. To illustrate this, according to the infographic created by Visual Capitalist, Zoom is now worth more than the 7 biggest airlines in the world at a whopping market capitalization of just over $40bn. Working from home/remote working is an aspect of modern-day work that has been long overdue. Why do you think most organisations who are seemingly able to convert to this way of work have struggled to convert? Furthermore, how have you and your organisation structured your work since the COVID-19 pandemic? Any key lessons?

Women in Marketing, Zoom vs airlines info-graphic
Image Source: Visual Capitalist
Data Source: Barchart

Not everyone is able to work from home or has the infrastructure at home, not to mention the self-discipline it takes to work from home with all of the distractions. We have been working from home, it is important for us to have weekly touch meetings to see what our teams are accomplishing during this time. We use a project-management programme called Monday.com to help track our progress.

I believe that it is so important to create a new structure at home. Being at home, you are able to save time sitting in traffic (which is awesome), I have found more time to get active which is extremely important in staying sane. I think it is also important for people to know it is ok to have an off day, where you don’t want to get out of bed. We are all going through a transition and it is okay to mourn our old lives. It is important to give yourself those off days and be kind to yourself while you are learning to adapt to this new way of life. #preach 

Storytelling seems to be the next rising buzzword. What’s the Beerhouse story? How are you telling it in an interesting way?

Beerhouse has been storytelling before it was cool. We are the epicentre of the craft beer revolution in South Africa.

So we have made sure that we know each brewery personally and have given them each a chance to sell beer through our platform. Beerhouse is a place where anyone can come as you are, whether it be your business suit or casual wear. It is an unpretentious place where people want to just be themselves, in an accepting environment over a beer. We are custodians of the world’s oldest beverage and those are the stories we really want to tell, whether it is online or by our highly trained staff at our beer-centric events. 


What have been some of Beerhouse biggest successes in marketing over the past 12 to 18 months?

Opening our second shop in Cape Town has definitely been a highlight for us and have found our voice as a brand. 

BCG published its innovation report for 2019 and at the core of its selection criteria are companies that have successfully married Artificial Intelligence in their products and services. According to you, what makes something innovative? How do you define innovation at Beerhouse?

Innovation has always been at the core of the Beerhouse team. It is extremely important for us to keep innovating in the way that we do things and challenging the status quo. We find it is also important for us to find innovation from the staff, they have some of the most inspired ideas. 

At the time of publishing, an article from The Digital Marketing Institute estimated that the influencer marketing industry will hit the $10bn mark by 2020. Whether it is B2B or B2C, it is evident that brands and organisations have had their own success with this model of marketing. How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect this industry going forward and do you believe there is still a place for influencer marketing?

I think it will be interesting to see how the whole world will change and how all industries will be changed. I personally won’t be sad to see influencer marketing to be the thing of the past. 

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Let’s be honest all social media channels will be impossible to live without. 

What’s your mobile strategy? What have you found works and does not work for your target audience?

WhatsApp business is the easiest way for our customers to speak to the team directly and helps us to give customers realtime information. Beerhouse is starting with food deliveries and when the time comes alcohol deliveries, our mobile communication with our customers is going to be the primary way that we will be communicating directly to paying customers. 

How is Beerhouse changing the approach to marketing, growing brand affinity, user adoption, and engaging consumers living a digital lifestyle?

A massive change for us is the lack of budget. So the focus on really great content that creates a dialogue without needing a budget.
Telling the stories of the work being done as Beerhouse, mostly focusing on our soup kitchen and food relief programmes. 


What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information? Physical book vs eReader?)

I am currently reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck‘. Most of the information that I consume is from online sources. 

What is on your Netflix watchlist/How do you relax?

I love lazy days and hardly ever get bored with watching shows, so watching my favourite / new shows via various streaming channels is right up my alley. Currently watching ‘Ozarkfrom the beginning and just finished watching ‘Communityfor the first time. 

A unique message for all young professionals in the marketing industry

Roll with the punches. The only constant in our lives right now is change. So just keep adapting and use this as your perfect opportunity to change the world. 

What haven’t you solved? What challenge is on your plate?

To remain creative in this time as well as to tell new stories while we aren’t really making a lot of new stories to tell. 

Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read

Anna Anderson of Drifter Brewing Company

Any bucket list items (professional as well as personal)?

I would love to move overseas to work and bring Beerhouse to another part of the world. 

Who are some of your female heroes?

I honestly find so much inspiration in my friends, I have a fantastic group of the most incredible women that are all such bosses in their own careers. 

What does the word feminist mean to you?

Strong women to have the ability to stand up for the benefit of all women.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Everything happens for a reason and that you can’t control everything, only the way that you respond to the situation. 

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Passion and a work ethic that will not quit. I don’t stop until the job is done. 



As Managing Director at naughtybanana, I am responsible for leading and managing the organisation’s marketing strategies and business development. I am involved in driving brand awareness, customer acquisition, and revenue growth through effective marketing initiatives, market research, and collaboration with cross-functional teams. I have experience working with clients in various industries such as defi, crypto, music and events, consumer packaged goods to name a few. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and creative problem-solving which help me stay updated on industry trends and foster innovation to drive the organization’s competitive advantage in the market.