Heineken unveils Ivoire in new Ivory Coast brewery

Heineken N.V on Monday unveiled the first beer brewed in its new Brassivoire brewery in Ivory Coast even though the plant won’t open until 2017.

The Dutch brewer partnered with French trading firm CFAO to build a new brewery in Abidjan at a cost of 100 billion CFA francs ($172m). The deal was first announced last year with Heineken holding 51% stake in the joint-venture to CFAOs 49%.

Ivory Coast emerged from a decade-long civil war in 2011 and has since seen its economy recover, with GDP growing 8% in 2014, and more people drinking beer in the country of 23 million people.

French beverage firm Groupe Castel, with strong presence in French-speaking West Africa has had a firm grip on the country’s beer market for years, producing nearly the 270 million litres of beer consumed in the country annually at its Solibra brewery in Abidjan.

Some of its popular brands include Castel, Flag, Solibra Brock, as well as other brands under license from Diageo’s Guinness and Carlsberg’s Tuborg.

Heineken will produce the Ivoire brand for the local market at the new Brassivoire brewery which will have a capacity of 160 million litres a year.

“We want to be the leading beer seller in Ivory Coast,” said Alexander Koch, General Manager of Heineken’s new Brassivoire brewery.

“The market has been served by a single actor, Castel for years….We judged it promising enough to move in with this investment,” he said.

The new Ivoire brand will sell for 500 CFA francs for a 60cl bottle, which would be cheaper than the competing brands produced by Castel.

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