SABMiller Plc, the global brewing giant in the midst of being acquired by its bigger rival, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has said it would increase its investment in Pabod Breweries, a Port Harcourt-based brewery it acquired in 2008 after years of neglect.
Pabod makes Grand Lager beer, Grand Malt, Castle Milk Stout, among others.
History of Pabod Breweries
Pabod was originally owned by the Rivers State Government and came into existence in 1982. At the time, it produced Grand Lager, Grand Malt, Grand Soda and later Bond Super Lager Beer, a special beer made with local raw materials . However, by 1986, it ran into setbacks with the Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP), which prevented brewers from importing raw materials not readily available in the country thereby forcing many closures. In addition, there were issues with poor management and corruption which contributed to the closure of the brewery. By 1996, production stopped.
Pabod came back to life when a German company, Brewtech, in a joint-venture partnership with the state government began production. However, that was not to last, as Nigerian Breweries Plc sued Pabod in court for allegedly copying the shape of its Star Lager brand bottle. Pabod won the case in court but Nigerian Breweries appealed and the case is still pending. However, in 2008, SABMiller struck a deal with the Rivers State government, which allowed it to acquire the majority shareholding in Pabod and take over shares formerly owned by Brewtech and some shares held by the Rivers State government.
SABMiller’s plans for Pabod Breweries
The General Manager of Pabod Breweries, Riaan Meyer said in Port Harcourt last weekend that the company was investing in the expansion of its facilities which he said would create more jobs for the people of the state. Mr. Meyer did not say how much SABMiller was going to invest in the facility, but called for improved relationship between the state government and Pabod Breweries, saying “such relationship will impact positively on the economy of the state.”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike giving a souvenir to the General Manager of Pabod Breweries, Mr Riaan Meyer at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday
SABMiller Nigeria Managing Director, Simon Harvey said recently, “We have made significant investments over the past five years in Nigeria and this announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment in the country.”
SABMiller also owns International Breweries, Ilesha; Intafact Beverages, Onitsha and Voltic International.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike took the opportunity to assure people of the state that his administration would create employment opportunities through investments in the manufacturing sector. He made the comments while meeting with the management of Pabod Breweries at the Government House, Port Harcourt last Friday; saying, a strong manufacturing sector would create jobs.
Wike also gave assurances of support to manufacturers through the provision of lands and other incentives; saying that “manufacturing generates employment. We are willing to support manufacturers. Our ultimate aim is to create employment opportunities for our people.”