KENYA – Kenya’s second largest brewer, Keroche Breweries has expanded its beer portfolio to extra strong beer category with launch of Vienna Ice Strong Lager.

The new drink has an alcohol strength of 10% and according to the company, it’s the first strongest locally brewed beer in a market dominated by imports.

The CEO of the company Tabitha Karanja, indicated that the product was introduced following a two-year survey which revealed the niche market, reports KBC.

“For years, consumers have relied on imports in this market and the new brand which is unique will fill this gap.

“Taking one Vienna Ice lager will roughly be equal to two regular beers of equal volume of 500ml,” she said.

Keroche operations manager Nicholas Kipchirchir said that the new product follows the successful acceptance of KB Lager last year.

He added that the company has the capacity of producing over 40,000 bottles per hour adding that they would meet the demand of the newly launched strong beer.

“We have done extensive market research and we are sure that this product will be accepted in the market by our consumers.”

Keroche Operations Manager – Nicholas Kipchirchir

The brewer’s daily bottling capacity is 30,000 crates of beer or 750,000 bottles which translates to 10 million crates of beer per year.

“We have done extensive market research and we are sure that this product will be accepted in the market by our consumers,” he said.

In a bid to quench the thirst of the Kenyan beer lovers, the company has indicated that it will launch another brand of strong beer in the next three months, creating more job opportunities for residents and generating extra revenue.

The new product launch will also generate more than Ksh1 billion (US$9.2m) to the exchequer annually.

“The new product Vienna Ice Strong Lager will generate over Sh1 billion (US$9.2m) to KRA every year and this will rise with time as per our market projections,” said Tabitha Karanja.

It is also expected to stimulate economic viability of the local producers of sorghum and barley in the country as the country vows to buy the beer producing materials from the local market.

The Naivasha-based brewer, is focused to attain a ten per cent of the country’s market, despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions such as closure of bars, which have slashed 25% of its production capacity.

“Since the government prohibited the sale of alcohol in pubs, we have lowered our production capacity by 25% to keep the business afloat,” said Karanja.

She is however optimistic that the business will bounce back once the government eases the lockdown once the Covid positivity rate lowers.

Karanja voiced the company’s support on the government efforts to control the spread of the pandemic but urged for resumption of sale of alcohol while observing the social distance measures in bars to help save the industry from looming collapse.

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