Diageo unveils Zemen Beer in an already tough market

A new campaign on under-age drinking kicks-off

Zemen BeerAddis Ababa, EthiopiaDiageo, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company and owner of the Meta Abo Brewery of Ethiopia, unveiled its new product, Zemen Beer, on Thursday aiming to stay at the forefront of the booming beer market in Ethiopia.

Francis Agbonlahor, managing director, Meta Abo Brewery, Ethiopian subsidiary of Diageo, introduced the company’s latest product at Capital Hotel. “Some of our esteemed customers have told us to make our product a bit light as Meta is known for its stronger alcoholic content,” he said.

Zemen, Meta’s light lager, is an innovation of the brewery that has been working on it for the past two years after Diageo took over the 42-year-old brewery in Ethiopia. With an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.5 percent Zemen will be found in outlets across Addis Ababa as of Thursday — day of announcement. According to Bahakal Abate, corporate relations director, the 330 ml bottle, Zemen, features some distinctive customer warning symbols that have never been introduced by breweries in Ethiopia before. 18+, pregnancy caution, and motor restriction (don’t drink and drive display) have been placed in the neck of the new Meta’s products.

Meta is also preparing to launch its brand campaign on underage drinking. According to reports, underage drinking has become popular amongst the youth in the capital Addis Ababa. That is why Meta has launched its new campaign in addition to its earlier famous campaign on drinking and driving known as Shum Shufair. “We are among the alcohol companies who have signed an international document known as ‘CEO Commitments’ to implement the World Health Organization’s global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol,” Francis said, adding that breweries’ involvement in social affairs is significant. The new product of the brewery will be available for only 10 birr for the rest of the production period, but the brewery will not intervene in the liberal market that would rub out the factory price and tag its rate.

Meta Abo, a brewery known for its motto — celebrating life, every day, everywhere – has advocated the normal use of alcohol, and will continue doing that along with its innovation, the managing director said. The brewery market in Ethiopia has seen a significant move upward as Diageo and Heineken took over the old and state-owned factories a few years ago.

Since the arrival of the two international brands in Ethiopia, the market share has reportedly shrunk for the oldest brewery, St. George, owned by the French company BGI. According to reports, Walia – the latest brand by Heineken – is in ascendance in the market since its introduction on the eve of the Ethiopian New Year (2007). And Meta’s Zemen is the new brand joining the market on the eve of 2015. Previously Meta introduced a non-alcoholic malt beverage, Malta. Apart from the global alcohol giants, Raya and Habesha breweries are set to join the market in the foreseeable future. “Strong moment for Meta,” Francis said, citing the intense competition. Meta Abo was handed over to Diageo for USD 250 million in June 2012 while the Dutch-based Heineken took over Bedele and Harar breweries for USD 178.3 million.

Source: The Reporter