Nikiwe Bikitsha visited Ghana on a mission. Her task for each leg of the Africa Connected tour, in conjunction with Standard Bank, is to overview the business landscape and identify opportunities for other companies.
Her last day consisted of an extensive tour of the Accra Brewery plant and a chat with host Graham Lurie, Finance Director at Accra Brewery Limited.
Accra Brewery was originally registered in 1931 in Switzerland as the Overseas Breweries Limited. In April of 1975, local registration took place to pave the way for Ghanaian participation. In 1997 South African Breweries acquired controlling interest in Accra Brewery Limited.
According to Bloomberg, ABL currently sources locally grown brewing materials such as maize, cassava, sorghum and rice from approximately 3,500 local farmers.
Just over a year ago Accra Brewery Limited inaugurated its new production plant - doubling capacity and increasing product lines - at a cost of US$100million. The project included the construction of two new state-of-the art packaging lines, a new warehouse and material storage area, as well as a waste-treatment plant and electricity sub-station.
The confidence shown by the expansion of the plant can't hide the ongoing electricity supply issues in Ghana... Nikiwe asked about the impact of years of loadshedding:
“It adds significantly to our operating costs... Surges can damage equipment... Consumers have less money in their pockets so the availability of money also impacts on demand."— Graham Lurie, Finance Director at Accra Brewery Limited
But at the same time Lurie is quick to point out their operational efficiencies - producing good quality beer, marketing it well and developing an efficient route to market... and in this time they have grown their Club Lager brand to be the single biggest brand in the country!
Ghana’s consumption of beer stands at five litres per person per year, much lower than the African average of 10 litres per person per year. Nevertheless, ABL continues to expand its product range - most recently another cassava based beer...
Click here to access the Africa Connected portal or click below to watch Nikiwe's chat with Graham and for visuals from the tour...