EABL eyes 4,000 new bars for Kisumu plant

A reveller enjoys his Senator keg drink. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A reveller enjoys his Senator keg drink. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Beer maker EABL #ticker:EABL says its Sh15 billion Senator Keg brewery in Kisumu will require at least 4,000 new bars to be opened in western Kenya for it to operate at optimal capacity.

East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has also disclosed that the factory, whose construction is set to be complete by July next year, would employ at least 12 distributors in the region.

The regional brewer, which is majority owned by UK multinational Diageo, currently supplies over 20,000 Senator Keg bars across the country.

“It’s an enormous project, which as you can imagine we’ve got very well resourced, which is why typically these things take a couple of years,” Andrew Cowan, EABL managing director, recently told analysts in a conference call.

“But our goal and our internal working plan is to have it open sometime in 2019.”

This is the first time that the brewer has revealed just how many bars it would require to evacuate product from the factory which it is building on a 55-acre piece of land it owns in Kisumu.

The brewery, which will directly employ 100 people, will also see EABL double its contracted sorghum farmers to 30,000 to hit its peak annual production capacity of 100 million litres.

Senator Keg, a drink dispensed in mugs from barrels, has emerged as a beer volume driver for the regional brewer due to its low purchase price.

The drink did not perform as well as in previous years in the six months to December, with sales dropping by Sh1.5 billion as the extended electioneering period saw its main consumers — casual workers — go for long periods without employment.

Mr Cowan did not rule out the possibility of EABL installing extra production lines besides Senator Keg at the upcoming factory.

“Kisumu is a great location for us. It’s near the lake and you need water to make beer. There’s a rich employment based there,” he said. “In the long-term, we thought well beyond Senator before choosing that location. We chose Kisumu to give us flexibility.”