Heineken Ethiopia has rolled out an expansion project for its Qilinto brewery on the outskirts of Addis Ababa at a cost of $112 million as it seeks to boost production and efficiency. Upon completion the company will have the largest production capacity in Ethiopia’s brewery industry overtaking the current market leader BGI Ethiopia by one million hectoliter.
Inaugurated in January 2015 with a total annual capacity of 1.5m hectoliters, the Qilinto brewery is producing Walia, Bedele and Harar beer brands. The expansion also created permanent employment opportunities for additional 300 people.
Heineken is also benefiting 20,000 farmers in Arsi and Bale zones, Oromia Regional State, through its malt barley imitative, which allows farmers to supply malted barley to the brewery. Heineken officially inaugurated its 110mln new brewery employing around 280 people drawn from the local workforce.
The Qilinto plant is Heineken’s 7th largest brewery in Africa. With the opening of the new plant, Heineken will overtake BGI as Ethiopia’s biggest beer production company. BGI is now producing three million hectoliter per a year.
The expansion will also increased the company’s employees to 270 from 290, in addition to hundreds of outsourced employees, such as security and janitorial workers.
Heineken entered the Ethiopian market in 2011 following the acquisition of Harar and Bedele breweries for 163.4 million dollars, through the government’s privatization policy.
“We are investing for the future,” said Fekadu Beshah, external communications and sustainability manager at Heineken Breweries S.C.
“We are preparing for a very competitive and dynamic market. Heineken [Ethiopia] is still targeting the local market,” he added.
The growing brewery market in Ethiopia is attracting new players and fresh injections of cash for production capacity expansion. Just last year, Dashen Brewery invested close to $90 million in a new plant in Debre Birhan, which is now operational. Diageo-Meta finalized its own expansion at a total cost of $35 million boosting its production to 1.7 million hectoliters. In the past five years, new brewery companies such as Habesha and Raya have also joined the market.