ETHIOPIA – Brasseries et Glacières Internationales (BGI), a subsidiary of the French beverages firm Castel Group, has pumped Birr 500 million (US$9.3 million) into its Meto Abo Brewery to remodel and expand the brewery to achieve an enhanced capacity and improve its brand.
With the investment, the company is purchasing new types of machinery and generators, which are expected to increase production capacity and strengthen its market reach even further.
BGI, which has a significant market share in the Ethiopian beer market, also exports products across Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America.
Last year, British drinks giant Diageo sold Meta Abo to BGI after it had purchased the brewer from the Ethiopian government in 2012 for US$225 million, following the government’s privatization move.
During the time of ownership of Diageo, the brewery also got a boost of US$119 million in investment to expand its bottling line.
Apart from Meto Abo Brewery, the group also owns other breweries in the area including St. George Brewery; Zebidar Brewery; Hawassa Brewery; Kombolcha Brewery, and Maychew Northern Brewery. Additionally, Castel Winery and Vineyard also fall under BGI’s control.
According to Market Research, the beer market in Ethiopia was valued at US$1.07 billion in 2015, with the market expected to reach US$3.12 billion in 2025, registering a CAGR of 10.25% per annum.
One of the most important trends in the beer market is the shift in consumer preference toward low and non-alcohol beers, as well as craft beers.
Asoko Insights reports that the current largest brewer by production volumes, Heineken, entered the market in 2011 by acquiring two local breweries, Bedele and Harar, for US$163.4 million and launching Hawassa Brewery.
The Dutch brewer expanded its portfolio of brewers with the opening of Kilinto brewery in 2014, making it the leading producer, with a capacity of 5.6 million hectolitres a year.
BGI Ethiopia is the second-largest producer as of the end-2021 and the oldest foreign entrant, making its first investments in the sector in the late 1990s with Kombolcha Brewery and St George Brewery.
Late last year, the company appointed Mr. Herve Milhade as the company’s new General Manager (CEO), replacing Mr. Laurent Lescuyer.
Mr. Milhade joined BGI from its sister company Castel Malawi, which has also welcomed a new head, Thomas Reynaud.
During his tenure at Castel Malawi, he presided over the turnaround of the company, which was on the verge of closure.