Walia takes over:Heineken’s Domination of the Ethiopian Beer Market

Beer marketAddis Ababa, Ethiopia – Amanuel Kiros, a purchasing manager at a private construction company, started drinking beer when he was a student at Gondar University five years ago. Around 6:00pm on Tuesday December 2, 2014, he was at Bama Bar and Restaurant, located at Megenagna, beside Zefmesh Grand Mall, on Kenenisa Street. The compound had several tents with tables that seated up to five people, and most were already occupied.

Amanuel had a tent all to himself, with two empty and one half full beer bottles in front of him. “I used to drink Dashen beer, until last September. I made a switch when Walia came,” he said. “I made a shift because I found Walia better in taste and because it does not make me feel tired. And more than anything, I believe I am taking part in supporting our national football team while using one bottle of beer, as the company is the main sponsor of the national football team.”

In an increasingly more diversified beer market, with more to join soon, Heineken, one of the world’s largest brewers, comes to own old brands in Ethiopia, and yet disrupts the market with a totally new brand. It named this brand Walia, the same as the national football team, which, in recent years, has managed to lift football fever in the country.

The market share began to shift in 2011, when global giants Heineken and Diageo joined the market, turning it into a show of force between global beer makers who have been taking chunks of the market. And now Walia is bolting away, with a good share of the market, at least for a while.

Heineken, one of the largest international breweries in the world, with brands in 178 countries, and an annual production capacity of 178.3 million hectolitres, acquired Bedele and Harar breweries in 2011 for 163.4 million dollars. It has since constructed a new factory, near Kilinto in Akaki Kaliti District, Addis Abeba, where it has been producing its new Walia brand since September 2014.

Read more at: Addis Fortune

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