ETHIOPIA – BGI Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s giant brewery, received eight large fermentation tanks for the expansion of its Hawassa plant on Thursday January 15, 2014 with an investment of 30 million euros.

The eight large fermentation tanks will increase the production capacity of the Hawassa plant by nearly double, said Essayas Hadera, marketing manager of BGI Ethiopia. Each having a capacity of 2,200hl, two of the tanks are Bright Beer Tank (BBT), used for fermentation process and the remaining six tod tanks used for processing the beer.

Ziemann International GmbH, a Germany based Company supplied beer tanks for many countries, including Russia, Mexico, and Belgium, manufactures the fermentation tanks. The tanks were purchased two months ago, all of which arrived at the Hawassa plant last Thursday.

St George beer entered the Ethiopia market in 1922 by Belgian owners. Later it had German owners, before it was nationalized by the military regime. It is currently owned by BGI, which also has a winery at Zeway. BGI has three plants at Hawassa, Addis Abeba and Kombolcha, with a total of 2,687 permanent and temporary workers.

BGI Brewery has three brands – St. George, Amber and Castel– with an annual production capacity of 2.65 million hectoliters. It has paid a total of 1.5 billion Br in taxes during the last fiscal year, having a total investment of 2.8 billion Br.

The Hawassa plant was inaugurated on June 7, 2011, as the company’s third plant in Hawassa town, located 273km south of Addis Abeba.

“Installation of the tankers will start by this week,” Essayas told Fortune.

The installation of the tankers will be completed in process between April and September 2015, he added. When all have been installed, the Hawassa plant will have the capacity to produce 1.44 million hectoliters a year, raising the total of the three plants to 3.6 million hectoliters.

A quarter of the installation will be finalized by April 2015 and will increase the production capacity by quarter, according to Essayas.

Ethiopia’s beer industry consists of five major breweries: Meta Abo Brewery, Harar Brewery, Bedele Brewery, Dashen Brewery, and BGI.

Combined, they have an annual production capacity of close to 5.62 million hectolitres. Raya is expected to be inaugurated by mid-February 2015, having a total capacity of 5.62 million hectoliters annually and BGI has a 42pc share in Raya. Habesha Brewery another new company is currently under formation.

BGI sources 50pc of its malt input from the Assela Malt Factory, supplier of malt for the existing breweries except Dashen, who sources from Gonder Malt Factory. Currently, Assela meets only 52pc of the annual malt barley demanded by the breweries. Production amounts to 36,000tn to 40,000tn a year.

The demand for beer is projected to grow by 15pc annually, much higher than the African average of five percent recorded in 2014 and the current production stands at 5.6 million hectoliters.

On the same day BGI received the tanks, Heineken inaugurated its plant located at Kilinto, which it built for 110 million euros, with 10 tanks and a production capacity of 1.5 million hectoliters, pushing the total production capacity of the factory to three million hectoliters.

By the next Ethiopian fiscal year, the country will have a total production capacity of 12.2 million hectoliters annually from the six breweries.

January 20, 2015;