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Home | News | Breweries | SABMiller adds Ugandan capacity

SABMiller adds Ugandan capacity

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Making inroads: local farmers to supply sorghum

NBL plant in Mbarara has initial 600,000hl capacity

SABMiller has said it plans to continue investing in new brewing capacity across Africa after subsidiary Nile Breweries Limited officially opened a new $90 million brewery in Uganda. 

Operational since April, NBL’s brewery in Mbarara has the potential to double capacity in the country. Its initial capacity is 650,000 hectolitres but this can be expanded to 1.8 million hectolitres as and when required. Krones is the main supplier, installing both the brewhouse and bottling line.

Clear beers to be produced include NBL’s flagship Nile Special, Club Pilsener and Chairman’s Extra Strong Brew. Eagle Lager and Eagle Extra, both brewed with locally grown sorghum, will also be brewed.

SABMiller said the Mbarara brewery, along with the $29 million expansion of the Jinja brewery in 2009 and investments in malting and effluent treatment plants in 2011, bring its investment in Uganda to more than $200 million in the last five years.

SABMiller Africa MD Mark Bowman described the potential of the Ugandan market as “significant.” Clear beer volumes have been growing at a compound annual rate of 11% for the past six years. GDP gains, population increases and low per capita consumption suggest more of the same for the foreseeable future.

He said, “Building a second brewery in Uganda is part of our strategy to invest in new capacity across Africa so that we are in a strong position to capitalise on the continent’s long-term beer market growth over the coming decades.

“Western Uganda is the fastest growing regional beer market within Uganda, making Mbarara the ideal location for a new brewery. The town is a major transport hub for the region, and it also benefits from superior infrastructure, including a ready water supply from the River Rwizi, and a reliable source of power.”

Western Uganda is also a stronghold for NBL’s rapidly growing sorghum-based Eagle beer brands. As such there is an opportunity for farmers in the Ankole and Kigezi regions to join the ranks of the estimated 20,000-plus farmers who already grow sorghum, barley, maize and sugar for Nile Breweries. The business currently procures about 20,000 tons per annum in country – over 60% of its brewing requirements. It plans to increase this figure to more than 90% by 2017.


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