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BGI Ethiopia, the bottler of famed Saint George Beer, said its exports have surged by 30 percent during the 2010/11 fiscal year.
The latest 30 percent boost in the beer export outperformed the bottler’s 20 percent annual growth average registered over the past few years.
During 2010/11 BGI Ethiopia exported 3,152 hectoliters of beer, up from the 2,416 hectoliters it had exported in the previous year. The value of the latest exports is about three hundred thousand dollars.
Isayas Hadera, marketing manager of BGI Ethiopia, says the rise in the company’s exports can be attributed to an aggressive campaign the bottler undertook in various European and American cities which popularized the standard 330 milliliters Saint George Beer.
“We dispatched employees to reach out to agents in US and European markets. We also are working with Ethiopian embassies there to better coordinate efforts to penetrate these markets. These efforts have really paid off and are helping us to better market our products,” Isayas told Capital on Thursday. BGI has been coordinating its marketing with Ethiopian missions in the European Union in Brussels, Belgium as well as with embassies in Paris, France and Tel Aviv, Israel.
As part of the marketing drive, BGI also commissioned various exhibitions and music concerts in European and American cities. The company also opened new markets in the cosmopolitan, bustling city of Geneva, Switzerland as well as in the eastern and southern parts of the US.
The cities chosen for such events were Nice and Paris from France, London from the United Kingdom and New York and North America’s Washington D.C. where a large Ethiopian Diaspora community resides.
Issayas added that so far the reception of BGI beers  which passed through rigorous quality checks to enter the Western markets is encouraging the company to aim at expanding the customer base for its products.
BGI Ethiopia Private limited Company was established in 1996 with targets to produce and distribute quality bottled and draught beer to local and foreign markets.
BGI Ethiopia built its first brewery located in Kombolcha in 1998. The company acquired Saint George Brewery, the first and oldest brewery in the country, from Ethiopian Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency in the same year.
It recently inaugurated a billion birr beer factory in Hawassa City, 275Km south of Addis Ababa. The company lays on a seven hectare plot with a capacity of annually producing 500,000 hectoliters of beer.
Spurred by BGI, the beer market in Ethiopia has been growing steadily since the year 2000. Nowadays, it is estimated to amount to four million hectoliters every year which is a dramatic rise from 900 thousand hectoliters ten years ago.