Meta Abo Brewery is aggressively expanding its market share in Ethiopia. Francis Agbonlahor is the Managing Director of Meta Abo Brewery which was acquired by DIAGEO, the worldâ€™s leading premium drinks company with a collection of alcoholic beverage brands across spirits, beer and wine for USD 225 million two years ago. Capitalâ€™s Groum Abate sat down with him to talk about the beer business in the country.
Capital: How is the beer business going now?
Francis:Â I would say the business environment is good, and we are engaging with basic partners to ensure Meta is available all over the country and we managed to do that. We are proud of that. The reason why we came here is because we see Ethiopia as a strategic market. We are really privileged to be here. So overall I would say it is going well and we are dealing with challenges along the way. Our new brand Malta Guinness is doing very well.Â The publicâ€™s feedback has been amazing as the new brand is alcohol free. We are also expanding the capacity of the factory in Sebeta and the production capacity has now doubled after we expanded.Â . One issue Iâ€™m sure you are aware of is getting the raw material for us to run production, that is one of the issues, getting foreign exchange to be able to import critical equipment and spare parts that we require can really be a nightmare in terms of the whole process, you have to go through and the delays that result from that, that kind of bureaucracy creates a lot of challenges for international businesses like ours. But having said that, I think the Ethiopian environment remains optimistic, the GDP growth is still positive and it has worked out well with consumers and customers in terms of acceptance of the Meta brand and there are many more people who are switching to Meta beer, so in that respect I would say the whole environment remains positive. There are opportunities and challenges that we need to continue to deal with. That wouldÂ be my assessment of what the business is like at the moment. Read full interview: Capital Ethiopia