By Hidat Arkebe

(Addis Fortune) – Habesha Beer started distribution on July 11, 2015, 20 days after commencing production, with a limited market in Debre Birhan, Addis Ababa and Adama.

In terms of share capital distribution, Habesha Beer has 8,800 shareholders including idirs, equbs, and Ethiopians in the Diaspora, with shares of 4,000 Br to 5,000,000 Br, Yonas Alemu, Habesha’s commercial director disclosed.  Bavaria NV holds a 40% share in the company, but, Yonas refused to tell the financial value of that share. Bavaria, established in late 17th century, is the second largest brewery in the Netherlands.

Habesha was planning an initial production capacity of 300,000hl (hectoliters), which it later increased to 650,000hl when Bavaria joined. The company is located in Debre Birhan town, 120km north of Addis Ababa, where it started construction in September 2013 on a 7.5ha plot of land.

In a Fortune report dated December 14, 2014, Ethiopia’s total beer production capacity stands at 7.1 million hectoliters annually. BGI Ethiopia’s capacity stands at 2.7 million hectoliters from its three factories at Addis Abeba, Hawassa and Kombolcha. Heineken S.C., which owns Walia, Harar, and Bedele breweries, has a capacity of 2.5 million hectoliters. Diageo, owner of Meta Abo Brewery, and Dashen Brewery S.C., follow with one million hectoliters and 900,000hl, respectively.

Meanwhile, Heineken Group, the world’s largest brewery which entered the Ethiopian market in 2011, with a total cost 200 million dollars, inaugurated its plant in Addis Ababa in January 2015. During its press conference, Heineken’s President for Africa and the Middle East, Siep Hiemstra, indicated that the company would begin producing Heineken beer next year.

There are now nine beer companies in Ethiopia, with production capacities of 10.5 million hectoliters, including Zebidar Brewery’s expected production capacity of 350,000 hectoliters, according to Akililu Kefyalew, director of beverage processing industries at the Ministry of Industry. Ethiopia’s per capita consumption of beer stands at eight litres, and it is expected to reach nine or 10 by the end of 2015/16, he says.

Habesha’s products will be available within 100km radius of Addis Ababa starting this week, Yonas told Fortune. The product, which will be distributed through third parties, sells for 198 Br a crate, same as the distribution price of all other regular brands.

Habesha gets the malt with which it produces its beer with five percent alcohol, from Holland Malt Company in the Netherlands.  However, the company has made a deal with three cooperatives in the Southern regional states for the supply of barley, which it will use for malt making at local malt factories. The first supply of barley is expected in November, Yonas says. It intends to get 10% to 20% of its malt supply locally. The company requires 11 million kilograms of malt a year.

Habesha currently employs 220 permanent and 110 temporary employees.

Source: Addis Fortune
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