ADDIS ABABA – Komari, a new entrant in the beverage sector and producer of Arada drinks, has introduced hard seltzer drink to Ethiopian market.
The company said it has begun making the seltzer drink after collecting input from 10,000 Ethiopians over three years.
The new sugar-free drink with 5% alcohol content has increased the company’s products to four.
In May, Komari entered the Ethiopian beverage sector with its debut Arada drinks with Lime, Apple and Pineapple Grapefruit flavors.
“We wanted to make drinks with the people who will actually drink them,” said Anteneh Tesfaye, Chief Innovation Officer.
“Our team started by asking thousands of people what flavors they would want, then we made their top choices,” he said, “tested with 1,200 more to select the final three.”
The company produces the drinks in its manufacturing plant installed in Amhara Region’s Cheki area, 96 kilometers from Addis Ababa.
Its officials, most of them in their twenties, launched the company after securing 26 million USD capital from local and international partners including a German family fund and Dashen Bank a few years back.
Komari now has the capacity to produce 27,000 bottles of Arada in an hour and employs a team of 132 staff in Addis Ababa and at the factory near Debre Berhan.
Its officials said completing all this during a global pandemic “presented unique challenges”.
“Every new company faces obstacles, but for us during Covid-19 we had to overcome delays in equipment arrival & construction, work from home and the stress of worrying about our colleagues and loved ones,” said Kiffle Abebe, Chief Production Officer.
However, with its previously introduced flavour getting popular in Addis Ababa and introduction of new product, the company is now starting to see the result of their work.
“The greatest accomplishment for me has been seeing staff grow, learn and take initiative,” said Amity Weiss, CEO, “It’s a major commitment to invest in people, especially with a young company, but the benefits for them and for us are huge. We wouldn’t be where we are today without that commitment.”