By Eric Nyasha Mhunduru
ANHEUSER-Busch InBev (AB InBev) Namibia has said that plans are already underway for the expansion of the Okahandja based plant capacity to about 800 000 hectare liters from the current 300 000 hectare liters in the next two years.
This is subsequent to the brewer’s successful launch of the company’s latest beer brand, eagle larger, at the Okahandja plant last week.
The beer is made from the mahangu grains and was introduced to the Namibian market in October last year.
Plant manager, Bogart Butler told Confidente that the site was already laid out for expansion as it stands, and had space for such a development, which would include a second brew house, an extra malt store and a bigger warehouse.
He said the expansion was not particularly linked to the introduction of the eagle larger brand but added that if the sales volumes were to increase to about 20 percent of total volumes that should be enough to push for the expansion sooner.
“All in all, we have designed the brewery to go up to 800 000 hectare liters in size. Currently we are only at 300 000 hectare liters’ in size and we will be getting more than double in size on this site.
“While the current capacity of the brewery is 300 000 hectare liters, we are utilizing about 250 000 hectare liters this year and we always have to keep ahead of what the demand requires. If we keep growing the way that we are growing we expect to be expanding in the next two years’ time.
“We do not need to expand specifically for the eagle larger brand but the overall brewery such that if the eagle brand grows to 20 percent of total sales, which is what we are targeting of our volumes.
“Since it was launched, the eagle brand has been doubling in sales every month since October 2017 and all the feedback so far has been very positive from both the consumers and the retailers.
“If eagle larger keeps going off the shelves the way it is doing now, definitely in two years’ time we will need to expand. We will start hitting the maximum capacity of the brewery next year in 2019,” said Butler.
On the issue of pricing where the eagle larger is selling at N$12 for the wholesale price, Butler said they will maintain that price cheaper than other mainstream lagers specifically because they were positioning it to be more affordable.
He admitted that they were taking a bit of a knock on their profits as they wanted to cater for those who could not afford the mainstream beer on the market.
“We want people who are not able to afford the mainstream beer to be able to look into their pockets and still be able to buy the eagle larger. We are taking a bit of a hit on the profits. It is not the same as it is a much lower profit than the mainstream beer but we are committed to making beer available at the same quality despite the price difference,” added Butler.
Butler also clarified that the local eagle was a bit different from all the others in other countries as each of them was more suited to their own country and the local one was designed specifically to be a Namibian eagle larger and it was the only beer in the world that contained mahangu.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015