Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Wednesday it plans to introduce African beer brands to its markets around the world as it seeks to make the most of its decision to acquire SABMiller.
“There are so many very unique African brands and I think it is time to sell African beers to the greater market,” said Ricardo Tadeu, Head of AB InBev’s African Operations.
“There is huge potential for these brands to be exported.”
The beer giant has narrowed its pick to eight brands, including Castle Lager from South Africa, Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro and Nigeria’s Hero Lager, among others. At the same time, the brewer will bring in its global brands such as Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona to its markets on the continent.
Tadeu noted that 65 million Africans are due to reach the legal drinking age by 2023, presenting an opportunity for brewers. However, the company has to confront slowing economic growth in some of its biggest markets on the continent such as in South Africa where sales grew a meagre 0.3% in 2016, while Nigeria remains mired in a recession following the drop in oil prices.
Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Lager, Nigeria’s Hero Lager and South Africa’s Castle Lager are part of eight African beer brands AB InBev plans to introduce to other markets outside of Africa
The brewer said it sees an opportunity to increase beer consumption in some African markets where yearly consumption average hoovers around 10 litres. It hopes to bump up consumption levels between 45 litres and 65 litres by introducing cheaper brands to compete with home-made brews. It points to the success of its Hero brand in Nigeria and Sorghum-based Chibuku in several African countries.
AB InBev said it plans to invest between $150m and $200m in two new production lines in South Africa as it continues to rein in costs.
The brewer added that it was planning a new plant in Nigeria that could cost as much as $400m, Tadeu said. However, he noted that his company does not intend to follow Heineken N.V into other African markets such as Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At the same time, it will not reduce its presence in 31 African countries in which it now operates but rather work on consolidating its holdings.
“We are prioritizing what we need to do in Africa, rather than trying to find new things,” Tadeu said.