Zambian Breweries embarks on long-awaited US$18m expansion plan to meet local demand

ZAMBIA – Zambian Breweries is determined to grow the country’s manufacturing sector despite the harsh economic conditions by investing in projects that stir production and boost the local value chain.

The country’s largest brewery has launched a multi-million-dollar expansion project to address growing demand and improve quality, further stamping its dominance in the local alcohol industry.

The subsidiary of the world’s largest brewing company, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), seeks to upgrade its Lusaka and Ndola plants with cutting-edge technology, to increase its annual brewing capacity by a third and address beer shortages across the country.

The expansion project worth US$18 million has been in the making for over a year but disruptions in imports and working conditions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak forced the project’s postponement to this year.

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“We had initiated plans to expand our production and fermentation capacity last year, but border closures and the country’s partial lock-down prevented us from acquiring the necessary equipment to complete the works hence we had to postpone the project,” AB InBev Brewery Operations Director for Southern Africa Franz Schepping said.

“This year, Zambian Breweries is investing about US$18 million in our plants. This shows that we have confidence in the market, and we are here for the future. We are also upgrading some technology in the brew house to further raise the quality of beer. This also means that we will be hiring new people in Lusaka and Ndola to utilise the increased capacity,” he added.

The colossal investment includes six new vast fermentation vessels with the capacity of 240,000 litres of beer each, and modern brewing equipment to increase efficiency and quality.

Zambian Breweries invests in six new vast fermentation vessels with the capacity of 240,000 litres of beer each, and modern brewing equipment to increase efficiency and quality

After the upgrades, the brewery will move to phase two and three within the next two years, which will see the installation of more upgrades that will help Zambian Breweries stay ahead of the country’s demand and keep product quality at peak levels.

To facilitate the upgrades, Mr Schepping advised that each plant would halt production for at least two to three days, noting that the brewer had put in place measures to ensure the market would not be heavily affected.

“Though installation will require temporary shutdown of the plant, we have taken precautions to ensure we minimise the impact on the market. When works on the fermentation units started in Ndola, we had to stop production for three days – which we also used to carry out maintenance on our equipment. We will do the same in Lusaka when works start in May,” explained Mr Schepping.

“We assure our customers of continuous supply, because we have stockpiled sufficient beer of all our brands – Mosi, Castle, Black Label, Castle Lite and Eagle – in our warehouses to cover the closure,” he concluded.

Zambian Breweries recognised for building green communities

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Zambian Breweries has received the ZAM Sustainability Award from Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM), for its leading role in environmental protection and building green communities through its Manja Pamodzi recycling initiative.

Manja Pamodzi is a recycling initiative introduced, by the company in 2016 in partnership with Lusaka City Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to help rid local townships of packaging waste and improve hygiene and sanitation.

Since its inception, the programme has played a critical role in not only revitalising township streets but also creating a new breed of entrepreneurs in local communities who earn a living by collecting waste and selling it to recyclers.

Statistics show that only 26 percent of the estimated 900 tons of waste generated daily in Lusaka is collected by formal services with some 34 percent of that waste being recyclable.

Over the last five years, more than 800 collectors – 500 of whom are women – have supported their livelihoods through this programme.

And by close of 2020, over 12,000 tons of recyclable waste had been collected from 11 aggregator sites around Lusaka.

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