The company says the Ethiopian beer market practically doubled over the last five years, adding that per capita consumption is relatively low when compared to other east African countries. It identifies a growing population, urbanisation, and rising incomes as drivers of a growing beer market.
Successful Walia launch
Kilinto is already producing the country’s Walia beer, as well as Bedele, Harar, and Sofi Malt brands, having been operational since July. It also plans to brew the flagship Heineken beer.
A spokesperson told BeverageDaily.com: “Walia beer was launched in the last week of August 2014, in time for the Ethiopian new year (celebrated on the September 11). Currently Walia is the main beer we brew at Kilinto, and has proved to be very successful since its launch.
“As the beer market in Ethiopia is developing, we are seeing opportunities at different price points. Walia, Harar and Bedele cater to a broad base of consumers and the international premium Heineken beer will have a role to play for the more affluent urban consumer.”
The brewery was unveiled last week by Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Heineken, Johan Doyer, managing director, Heineken Ethiopia, His Excellency the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and Mrs Charlene de Carvalho, Heineken.
Johan Doyer, managing director, Heineken Ethiopia, said the success of the Walia launch has shown the beer category has ‘huge potential.’
The brewery employs around 280 people from the local workforce. It complements the established Bedele and Harar breweries, which were acquired from the Ethiopian government in 2011.
The Kilinto brewery is part of a €310m investment in Ethiopia. This programme will also improve the Harar and Bedele breweries, improving efficiencies and technology. It is also helping a local barley sourcing programme, a public private partnership with local and international partners.
Heineken says Africa is a ‘major part of [its] overall business,’ providing 14.5% of revenue and 14.1% of beer volumes.
It adds it has invested €2.5bn in Africa since 2007, and currently supports 1.1m direct and indirect jobs.
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