SAB Namibia begins production
First bottles of Carling Black Label depart Okahandja
The long-running saga to establish a brewing presence in Namibia is at last coming to a fruitful end, with the inaugural brew produced this week at SABMiller’s greenfield brewery in Okahandja.
Construction of the US $33.3 million, 250,000 hectolitre brewery began in mid-2013 and will be completed at the end of October. It’s a project, though, that was expected to be operational much sooner than now.
For SABMiller, Okahandja is their competitive challenge in the home court of Namibia’s other established national brewer, Windhoek, which has been exporting product to South Africa for decades. For Namibians, the brewery represents a building block in the government’s Vision 2030 of an industrialised nation.
South African Breweries MD Mauricio Leyva noted, “We expect the new Okahandja brewery to contribute to the creation of a vibrant manufacturing sector through which we will accelerate the emergence of small and medium sized Namibian businesses and help create a growing population of skilled employees by supporting education and providing training.”
Okahandja, located 70 miles north of the country’s capital, Windhoek, will be brewing Castle Lager, Castle Lite, and Carling Black Label. SABMiller estimates that it currently has a 22% share of the Namibian beer market.
Okahandja is described as one of the multinational brewer’s most environmentally-friendly breweries of its size. The brewery will require just 3.25 litres of water per litre of beer produced. There are also evident reductions in carbon emissions, with product no longer having to be transported from breweries in neighbouring South Africa.
At least 30 million non-returnable bottles have been converted into returnable bottles. Cardboard packaging previously used has been abandoned in favour of plastic crates.
SABMiller Namibia is 60% owned by SABMiller and 40% by local Namibian partners, comprising 20% held by Onyewu Investments and 20% by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities.