Castel Group’s Ethiopian subsidiary BGI to debut new beer products

ETHIOPIA – BGI Ethiopia PLC, subsidiary of the Castel Group is set to introduce two new beer products in the market dubbed Doppel alcoholic beer and Senque malt, a non-alcoholic beer.

The new products come at a time when the beer industry faces a couple of challenges, including lukewarm sales linked to recently introduced excise tax, the COVID-19 pandemic and strict advertisement rules that have pushed beer sales downwards.

According to reports by Reporter Ethiopia, Doppel beer will be a “lower-gravity German-style bock beer” that is dark and is set to complement the brewer’s St. George and Castel brands.

St. George remains the most successful brand of beer in Ethiopia, despite stiff competition from Heineken Breweries, which has a slew of brands under it, including its signature beer, Walia, Harar and Bedele.

Despite having bullish performance, the reports have indicated that the company has also had some limited success with some of its brands in the past such as Amber, which launched in 2012 and Guinness beer in early 2000’s.

The brewer called off the products due to poor sales. Guinness was later launched by Diageo in 2018 and suffered the same fate after a year.

BGI also bought Raya beer in 2018, while it made an initial plan to make the beer available across the country. However, it is now selling the product in the Tigray region only.

BGI has five breweries including St. George Brewery in Addis Ababa, the Kombolcha Brewery, the Hawassa Brewery, Zebidar Brewery and Machew Northern Brewery with a combined production capacity of 3.6 million Hectoliters of beer (bottle and draft) annually.

Recent reports have indicated that BGI has cancelled production of Zebidar beer at its Zebidar Brewery and instead has decided to use the facility for the production of its best-selling St. George beer.

The company also owns and manages the Castel Winery and vineyard located in the town of Zeway. Established in 2012, the winery produces 12,000 Hectoliters of different wine varieties annually under the brand names Acacia and Rift Valley.

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