ETHIOPIA – Diageo Plc, the distiller of Meta Abo, Zemen beer and Malta Guinness non-alcoholic beer brands, is undertaking a 780 million Br expansion, which could see its production more than double to four million hectolitres a year.

The company whose current capacity stands at 1.7 million hectolitres acquired an expansion licence from the Ethiopian Investment Commission in July 15, 2015.

The expansion is taking place at the factory’s site in Sebeta, 25Km south-west of Addis Abeba, where Diageo holds a total of 40ha of land.

Diageo entered the Ethiopian market with the acquisition of Meta Abo Brewery from the Privatization & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) in 2013 for 225 million dollars. Within a year after that it had undertaken a 344 million dollars expansion, which tripled its capacity.

“The beverage industry in Ethiopia is constantly evolving and becoming ever more competitive in terms of growing number of players, product offerings, quickly-evolving marketing techniques; the growing competition definitely means we have a tough battle ahead of us but we look forward to coming out as number one,” said Blayne Tesfaye, Meta’s communications manager, in an e-mailed response to Fortune.

According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Ethiopia’s per capita consumption of beer stands at eight litres and is expected to reach nine or 10 litres by the end of 2015/16. Current national beer production by the existing nine companies stands at 10.5 million hectolitres.

This number is far from the figures in countries like Kenya, for which per capital consumption is 12lt and South Africa 59lt.

Diageo is a British beverage company, having presence in 180 countries. It has brands in beer, wine and liquor, including Guinness beer as well Johnnie Walker (whiskey) and Smirnoff (vodka).

“With this expansion we seek to both meet future demand for our brands and support our robust innovation programme,” read the email.

The company employs 600 people directly and an additional 1,000 people indirectly. Moreover, it has been recruiting fresh university graduates to give them job opportunities and in return to exhaust local talents in to the sector. Over the last two years, it has recruited 24 graduates.

September 4, 2015;