ADDIS ABEBA – Kangaroo Plast plc, an established local family-owned company, has opened the newest beer manufacturing plant in Ethiopia, with a capital of 88 million USD.
The plant, which has a brewing capacity of 1.6 million hectoliters, has already started producing a new brand of beer, which will soon be available to the public, following the official unveiling ceremony.
Ephraim Yirga, board chairman of Kangaroo Plast Plc, said the factory located in Mojo Town will soon start producing beer at its full capacity.
The Monitor’s Mhret G/Kristos sat down with Ephraim, who is also board chairman of United Brewery Share Company, to discuss the group’s latest investment.
The Monitor: What makes your group interested to invest in the brewery?
Ephraim Yirga: Despite investing mostly known in manufacturing, real estate, and farming sectors, we started to work on our vision of having a brewery a long time ago. And the reason for us to do so is the increasing demand for beer in the market, which our study in the area confirmed, and the presence of attractive opportunities in the sector.
The Monitor: How much money has the group invested so far?
Our new factory which rests on 250 hectares of land is now at its final chapter in terms of construction. It will soon start production.
We have so far invested about 88 million USD. The factory – which is located in Mojo – has an initial brewing capacity of 1.6 million hectoliters and the packaging capacity of 800,000 hectoliters. We were also working with United Africa Beverage Share Company – a Mauritius-based firm – and they have a vast experience in the sector.
The Monitor: What kind of brand or beer are you planning to introduce to the Market?
Ephraim: We did a lot of research in that area in order to know and understand the Ethiopian’s test in beer. That helped us to identify the right balance.
We believe that we will add a quality one to the market. We have hired a German company that is working on the recapping process and have also a German brewer too.
The Monitor: Do you think the soon-to-be effective law related to alcohol and tobacco will have an impact on your work?
Ephraim: The newly ratified law that prohibits the promotion of alcoholic beverages would not make it easy to promote our product effectively. But we have a small window where we can start to promote. Once we do that, we will get the people to test our product and make sure that will stay afloat. After that, we don’t need a lot of advertisements because the product itself can be its own advertisement. It will be difficult but, we can achieve our goal.
The Monitor: How strong is your link with local factories that are producing malt?
Ephraim: For the time being, we are importing malt from Germany and Belgium. At the same time, we are hopeful and confident that two new Malt manufacturing will be operational in a short period of time. Then, we will be able to buy the local malts from here and also it will be a value addition.
United Beverages currently uses 50 percent locally sourced raw and plans to use 100% local sourcing in the near future.
The Monitor: What kind of challenges did you face during the process of installing the brewery?
Ephraim – We didn’t face a lot of challenges but, I would like to thank the Oromia region as well as the Mojo city administration very much. They were very supportive. We didn’t face challenges because of that. Our beer is also certified by the food and drug authority on time.
The Monitor: Does your company have any plans for expansion in the near future?
Ephraim: Sure. As I have said, our company currently has a brewing capacity of 1.6 million hectoliters and we want to increase that to 2.6 hectoliters in a short period of time. We will start the process of expansion as soon as we inaugurated the brewery.