Keroche Breweries has launched its latest beer brand, upping production to about 50 per cent, amid a depressed market occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.
The liquor firm owned by successful business couple Joseph and Tabitha Karanja is eyeing 20 per cent of the market share and it has been on a diversification path.
The new brand-Viena Ice Strong Lager- with an alcoholic content of 10 per cent is a low class competition, targeting all levels of consumers.
The company chief executive officer, Mrs Karanja admitted that the production level has plummeted to about 15 per cent, but the desire to satisfy the market, has been the company’s driving force.
“True, we are dealing with a battered economy, more so, due to the Covid-19 pandemic but since inception, the firm desire is to be a local market leader and company has firmly kept eyes on the ball,” said the CEO during a briefing launching ceremony at the Naivasha backyard.
Mrs Karanja said the expansion plan will see the company remit at least Sh 1 billion to the exchequer, terming it a positive move for the Kenyan economy.
She said the launch of the brand was the culmination of a one year market survey, prior to the disease that has rattled the global population and affected economies.
The beer will retail at Sh 100 and, according to the company boss, the desire to increase the alcoholic content was fueled by the introduction of Viena ice, with a 5.5 alcoholic content.
“During the survey, the consumers voiced the need to have a strong and affordable brand and our core duty as a beer maker was to oblige,” added Mrs Karanja.
She said the production capacity of the new brand will be dictated by the market dynamics, but was positive about a trusted clientele embracing the beer.
“We are back and determined to keep pushing despite the ravages of the pandemic,” added the CEO.
An increasing customer base that grew between the years 2003-2007 triggered expansion, aimed at catering for the middle and upper beer market.
In 2008, Keroche Breweries launched a state of the art brewing plant (60,000 hectoliters) and with it Kenya’s first Sugar Free beer – Summit Lager.
The history of the Naivasha based company also dates back to 2012 when the beer maker installed a 21 st century state-of-the-art, brew house with a production capacity of 250 hectolitere per brew and yearly production of 1,000,000 hectolitres in 2012.
The new plant was being financed by the then Barclays Bank to a tune of Sh2.5 billion.
The company’s Operations manager Nicholas Kipchirchir said most of the beers produced locally had an alcoholic content of between 4 and 5 per cent.
“What we have is almost double of what the market is accustomed to and we hope it will be a hit with consumers,” he said.
“Our primary targets are consumers who don’t like spirits but have a high affinity for strong brands,” he disclo
He said the plant has a capacity of producing 30 different brands.
The company is the sole producer of Summit Lager, Summit Malt, Vienna Ice, Viena Ice Lemon Twist, Valley Wine; Pinotage’ , Chenin Blanc and Savignon Blanc and recently launched a Crescent range of triple distilled spirits; vodka, Whisky, Dry Gin and Brandy.