A Glasgow design agency has teamed up with the artist behind some of Fela Kuti's iconic album covers to bring Nigeria's first craft brewery to global attention.

Bature Brewery started in the nation's capital, Abuja, in 2017 and now operates a brewery and taproom from Victoria Island in Lagos.

Scots design company Pim-Pam has worked with the brewery for several years, designing everything from their branding through to their beer cans, partnering with artists in Nigeria and wider West Africa on their designs.

In October, Bature hosted the annual 'Felabration' festival, a celebration of the life and works of Nigeria's most famous son, Fela Kuti.

The brewery released a special beer, Shakara, named for one of the afrobeat pioneer's songs and worked with the artist Lemi Ghariokwu, who designed 26 album covers for the iconic musician to bring it to life.

Luke McCarthy, founder and creative director at Pim-Pam tells The Herald: "We started working with them a few years ago because a friend of mine had moved to a place called Abuja in Nigeria.

“It was one of those things where they’d gone out there and couldn’t find any good craft beer on the market, there wasn’t any craft brewery at all.

“He’d had previous experience brewing beers in Scotland, so he met up with a lot of the people he’d been working with in Abuja and they set up this small tap room.

“Through a friend of a friend they got in touch with myself when I’d set up Pim-Pam and one thing led to another.

The Herald:

"It’s beer brewed for West Africa, that’s the whole point. It’s not someone in Scotland wanting to design it for this market, we want to be a bit more authentic, we want to tell a bit of a story with it and connect with the audience they have out there.

"For the Shakara and the Felabration project we’d identified Lemi very early. It made sense, he had the history and the connection to Felabration and Fela Kuti’s music and there really isn’t anyone else we could have done that project with.

"There’s a huge following for Fela Kuti worldwide, he was born in Lagos and his connection there is everywhere. You can go around the streets there and see something connected to him and his music, whether that’s hearing the music itself or murals on walls, stickers, posters.

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"The brewery had been wanting to do this for a while where we create something unique that is a celebration of Fela Kuti but also afrobeat as well.

“Felabration in October is a big yearly festival worldwide but obviously with a particular focus in Lagos.

"We didn’t want to do something that was just a token gesture, we wanted to do something that had a bit more of a connection where it’s bringing our audience to Lemi, and bringing Lemi to a different audience as well.

"The scene in Lagos has so much music, culture and craft and there’s so much to celebrate.

“'Shakara’ as a term would maybe translate to ‘pride’ or ‘to show off’ and with a pink beer we need to have something equally complimentary on the outside.

“Lemi’s work has always been so engaging, so when we started the process there was a firm brief that we wanted something we could really get behind and shout about, something contemporary where we can take his style and work with it."

The beer itself is made from zobo, or hibiscus leaves, is pink in colour and tastes of strawberry and pomegranate - not that the artist behind the can would know.

Mr Ghariokwu says: "I knew next-to-nothing about beer production. I have never drank - I’m actually a teetotaller. As part of my research for this project I had to check out the meaning of craft brewing.

"It felt and still feels like a natural fit to work alongside Bature Brewery.

The Herald: The Shakara beer made by Bature BreweryThe Shakara beer made by Bature Brewery (Image: Electric Shores)

"We shared admiration of Fela Kuti, his legacy of Afrobeat music, and love for the vibrant and colourful city of Lagos."

The craft beer scene is well-established in Scotland and in Europe, but Pim-Pam couldn't simply copy and paste what works in more established markets into West Africa.

Mr McCarthy says: "I think because the craft industry in the UK or internationally has been going for 10-20 years, there are a lot of lessons to take from that as far as what works, what doesn’t, what resonates with different audiences.

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"There’s no cheat sheet, but when someone has gone through the lesson plan ahead of you, you can kind of get an idea of what will work and what won’t, and what will connect with the audience.

“But West Africa is so different, it’s not a one-size-fits-all.

"The biggest thing for us was working with people from Lagos or from Nigeria, working with people who have experience there, whose art would connect with their audience.

The Herald:

"It’s not just showing a product and saying ‘here it is, buy it’ it’s telling a story and showing how we’ve created it using locally-sourced ingredients, whether that’s coffee from Taraba for the coffee stout or zobo for the Shakara beer.

"It’s brewed in Lagos, it’s brewed for Nigerians and the West African market and on top of that people realise, ‘they’re working with West African artists, West African musicians, it’s actually based here, they’re working with local ingredients’ it resonates a lot more locally.”

For beer fans hoping to get their hands on a few cans in Scotland though, there's some bad news.

Mr McCarthy says: "At the moment there aren’t plans to bring it to the UK, that would be more of a gesture at this point, but there are ways we could do that in the future because want to get the beer to everyone who will enjoy it.

“I’ve sneakily brought back a few samples for many of my Nigerian friends in Scotland, so a few people have sampled it – it’s just not for sale here.”