Company Name: SKOL Brewery
Innovation: New product
RWANDA – Rwandan beer manufacturer, SKOL Brewery has inaugurated its state-of-the-art water production line with a production capacity of 40,000 bottles of pure mineral water per hour.
The launch of the production line coincided with the introduction of its new bottled water brand dubbed Virunga Water coming in two variants i.e. mineral and sparkling water.
According to the company, the new product is packed in an eco-friendly returnable glass bottle in line with the country’s law relating to the prohibition of single-use plastic items.
“We are very proud to launch Virunga Water, the first Rwandan mineral water in a returnable glass bottle.”SKOL Brewery Ltd General Manager – Mr Ivan Wulffaert
Last year, Rwanda became the first country in East Africa to issue a complete ban on all single-use plastics a move that goes hand in hand with its commitment of environmental protection.
Global figures show 80% of plastic bottles in the world never get recycled and it takes at least 450 years for 1 plastic bottle to completely degrade.
“We are very proud to launch Virunga Water, the first Rwandan mineral water in a returnable glass bottle.
“Our company is committed to supporting the country’s agenda to fight against plastic while also continuing to offer more high-quality products to Rwandan consumers,” SKOL Brewery Ltd General Manager, Mr Ivan Wulffaert said.
Being the first of its kind to be produced locally, the water brand will undoubtedly shake the water industry in the East African nation that is still mainly dependent on single-use plastic (PET) bottles.
Speaking at the official launch of the product, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, the Minister of Environment, welcomed the move by SKOL.
“This comes as a game-changer for us when it comes to conserving our environment as well as consuming clean and pure water packaged in glass bottles.
“A message to factories that produce water in plastic bottles is that now it has proven possible for us Rwandans to produce water in glass bottles.”
With the launch of Virunga Water, SKOL is expanding its portfolio from the production of beer to venturing into the bottled water business which was estimated to be worth US$12.01 billion in 2018 in the MEA region and is expected to be growing at a CAGR of 8.7% to reach US$16.85 billion by 2023, according to Market Data Forecast.
Doreen Mutesi, Virunga Water Brand Manager said, “Rwandan consumers are becoming more health-conscious and Virunga Water also answers that growing need of a premium non-alcoholic and non-sugar-based drink. Virunga Water will add an elegant touch whether you are eating at home or at a restaurant.”
Meanwhile, Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has prohibited the packaging of alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles as they pose a threat to both consumers’ health and the environment.
Rwanda FDA has highlighted that packaging alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles leads to adulteration as some of those packages are made of chemicals which get re-activated and dissolved in the drink following prolonged exposure to heat and contact with alcohols, thus posing a health risk to consumers.
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