KBL seeks to drive up sales with more beer distributors

A boda boda rider transports barrels of keg on the Meru-Embu highway. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL
A boda boda rider transports barrels of keg on the Meru-Embu highway. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL 

Beer maker Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), a subsidiary of UK Diageo’s East African Breweries Ltd, has announced plans to grow sales for its beer, its lower-taxed Senator Keg and spirits products by beefing up its distribution channels in the country.

KBL yesterday invited expressions of interest from investors through notices in local dailies for distributors of its products at the Coast, Rift Valley and western Kenya.

“KBL has opportunities for additional beer and spirits distributors in Machakos, Kwale, Voi and Taita Taveta counties,” said Kenya’s largest and oldest producer of beer in the notice.

“KBL and UDV have opportunities for additional Keg and spirits distributors in Malindi, Kitale, Kilifi, Bomet, Migori, Kapsabet, Bungoma, Busia and Narok.”

KBL has spelt out stringent financial and contractual requirements for the potential distributors.

The beer maker has in the past faced standoff with its distributors with the demand that the beer maker removes alleged clauses in their contracts that allegedly prevent the merchants from dealing with rival firms.

The standoff came to a head in June last year after some of the beer distributors declined to sign agreements requiring them to notify the EABL of any plans to deal in competitor products.

The EABL, which controls the largest beer market share in Kenya, had at the time issued its distributors with three-year contracts that effectively barred them from selling products from rival firms.

Intense talks saw most of the distributors eventually sign the contracts, averting what would have been a major supply nightmare for the brewer.

EABL said then that its contracts were non-exclusive and that the requirement is not uncompetitive.