BGI introduces Amber beer


BGI Ethiopia, which controls over half of the country’s beer market, will introduce the first Ethiopian Amber beer brand for its customers within the next two weeks.
It will be the fourth beer for the brewery after St George, Castel and Bati and will be available in both draft and bottles.
Esayas Hadera marketing manager of BGI told Capital that Amber Beer, in a deep reddish brown colour, is the first for Ethiopian market and is different from other beer brands in terms of quality and ingredients. At six percent, its alcoholic content will be higher than other beers. It will be available throughout the country by the end of the month. The marketing manager also said that this high premium class beer will be a little more expensive than other BGI beer brands, though he did not say how much. “Initially Amber shall be brewed at BGI brewery in the capital city, but other branch factories located in Kombolcha and Hawassa  will soon start brewing it as well,” Esayas added.      
BGI Ethiopia also plans to introduce an international brand of draft beer in the coming three weeks.
Currently, BGI’s prominent brand St George draft and bottled beer hold the major market share in the country. Amber beer, which is common in other countries, is also expected to expand the brewery’s dominancy in Ethiopia. According to company officials, after BGI commissioned its newest branch in Hawassa, 275Km South of Addis Ababa, in June 2011 it began making plans to introduce new brands of bottled beer, including Amber.
The Addis Ababa and Kombolcha breweries total production capacity is about 1.67 million hectolitres per annum, while the new beer plant located in Hawassa has a capacity to produce 500,000 hectolitres of beer per annum. BGI entered the brewery industry in Ethiopia in October 1998. 
Recently BGI bought a 25 percent share worth 75 million birr from Raya Brewery which is under establishment. According to Raya’s plan, in the first phase of its production, it plans to produce 300,000 hectolitres of beer per annum.
The beer market has become increasingly competitive since internationally high-ranking breweries; Heineken and Diageo joined the local market last year. Currently, only seven breweries are involved in the beer market. Three of these are owned by BGI while Heineken purchased Harar and Bedele a few months ago. Diageo, the biggest distiller in the world also controlled Meta Abo by the end of 2011 at the cost of USD 225 million.
In the past budget year not only have the two international giant companies joined the beer industry, but Bavaria and Duet Group, a British equity firm, have bought significant shares in Habesha, the under formation brewery, and Dashen respectively.