Ghana has always been a welcoming place for Europeans, and over the years it has succeeded in attracting a number of interesting and often eccentric individuals who left a distinct impression on all who met them. One such person was Dennis Beasely, Managing Director of Kumasi Brewery in the 1970s. Dennis was the archetypal master brewer: big, ruddy-complexioned, and full of jovial bonhomie. With a background of brewing beer in Nigeria, Dennis was addicted to West Africa and determined to find a way to stay longer in a country that welcomed short-term and contractual residence but made permanent residence almost impossible.
Kumasi Brewery was one of the city’s few large private enterprises and one of its biggest employers. So when the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was seeking to interact more closely with the local community and private sector industries in 1972, and recruiting a Director for its newly-established Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC), Dennis Beasely was invited to join the Appointment’s Committee. This was the beginning of a continuing relationship between the brewery and the university through which Dennis maintained an interest in the progress of the TCC. Later, when the brewery sought to make commercial use of the carbon dioxide produced in fermentation, the TCC arranged for KNUST engineers to advise on compression and storage.
Dennis had another, more personal, interest in the university. His wife was a keen member of the UST Horse Society and kept a lively stallion stabled on the campus. Mrs Beasely was a regular rider and one of the most accomplished horse persons in the modest band which sought to keep equestrian activities alive in difficult economic circumstances. On his first few appearances at the stables, Dennis appeared to be a reluctant horseman; but as time passed, he gained more and more enjoyment from his rides, to the extent that he sometimes turned up alone to take a hired horse for a turn on the extensive campus or in the surrounding bush. The sight of Dennis’s great bulk on an undersized West African Arab, little bigger than a pony, induced great sympathy for the animal, but it is pleasing to record that all survived unharmed by the experience.
At the termination of his contract in Kumasi, Dennis sought alternative employment to enable him to stay longer in Ghana. Until this time, Ghana’s three modern breweries were all foreign owned, but in the early 1980s a smaller private brewery was struggling to enter the market. Dennis Beasely, with his long experience of brewing and marketing beer in West Africa, was the ideal man to take the new venture forward. It is pleasing to record that by the time Dennis reluctantly retired to England, Ghana’s imbibers were able to claim that their countrymen drew sustenance from, not three, but four modern breweries.