DELTA corporation majority shareholder SABMiller plc has announced plans to expand its African beer brand Chibuku to 10 countries across the continent as demand for opaque beer surges.
Report by Business Reporter
According to SABMiller, Chibuku brewed on traditional African recipes using maize and/or sorghum, depending on local tastes, will more than double its brand presence in the region. Currently the beer has a market in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Following a $16m investment over the last 18 months, it was expected that by the end of this financial year, Chibuku volumes across new markets in Africa would total well over 500 000 hectolitres.
The brand’s expansion, according to SABMiller, has also created 200 new direct jobs, supporting a further 1 500 jobs indirectly in the supply chain and distribution network.
SABMiller’s expansion of Chibuku is part of a strategy to make more affordable beers for lower-income consumers across Africa, taking a share from the often unsafe “informal” alcohol market.
It also provides a guaranteed market for smallholder farmers through which SABMiller sources the maize and sorghum used in its production.
In the year ending March 2012, SABMiller sourced maize and sorghum from around 40 000 smallholder farmers across Africa.
“Following successful pilot schemes in Ghana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Tanzania, full-scale Chibuku production has now been launched in each of these countries. A Lesotho pilot project has been launched with commercial sales expected in the next few months and in Uganda a brand new plant is being planned, as part of the new brewery under construction in Mbarara,” read part of SABMiller statement.
Commenting on the development, SABMiller Africa managing director Mark Bowman said: “We have been investing heavily to grow capacity and stay ahead of demand across Africa.
“The expansion of our Chibuku operations illustrates how we are driving our affordability strategy, product innovation and maintaining momentum behind our ‘Farming Better Futures’ programme through this continued investment.”
Chibuku Super has been brewed successfully on a small commercial basis in Zambia for the past 12 months.
A larger plant has been commissioned in the past few weeks at Kitwe, north of Zambia, to further grow this category.
New “Super” production lines, the company said, will also be in place in Mozambique and Zimbabwe by the end of this year.