AB-InBev tackling "low-end" beer market in East Africa

From the East African:

The plan by AB-InBev to invest in a brewery could be a game-changer in the regional market, where focus is shifting away from premium beer market that has largely maintained flat growth to low-end beer brands and spirits.

AB-InBev says its growth is rooted in the low-end segment of the market that is currently largely served by traditional brews and informal beer traders who have led to the explosion of illicit alcohol.

In Kenya, it is estimated that 58 per cent of all pure alcohol consumed is in the informal market while in Tanzania it is estimated at 65 per cent and Uganda 70 per cent.

The company plans to use local ingredients like sorghum, barley, maize and cassava to make low-end beer that will enable it capture a bigger market.

Local ingredients and low-end beer; are they going for pilseners using indigenous grains or going for something else entirely?

It’s really awesome to see a multinational conglomerate make headway into putting local brewers out of business in some of the poorest countries in the world so that local peoples’ money can go into the pockets of rich white people instead. Yay AB-InBev! I’m so happy they purchased this site, it feels great to be supporting the good guys.


Full quote because truth.

I’m no fanboy of major conglomerates, but the point suggested in the article was that the majority of alcohol consumed in East African countries are either bootlegged versions of what you would buy from a store or just entirely homemade recipes; these countries don’t exactly have much in the way of a long-standing culture and economy of craft brewing.

It almost seems like they’re outsourcing a public health concern out to a major corporation.

It’s not a public health concern. It is genuinely difficult to brew beer that is dangerous. Liquor is another story, but RatebeerInBev isn’t aiming to replace liquor. Local beer is made by local people with local ingredients, and sold to or communally drank by villagers at a truly micro scale. Sorghum, millet, cassava, banana, whatever is available. It is a long standing culture, going back thousands of fucking years. It’s the most basic, traditional ferment you can get. Educate yourself.

It is, actually; Uganda, for instance, has an extremely high alcohol consumption rate with well-above average mortality rates, so if people aren’t getting legally-made waragi or tonto (and let’s face it: despite futile attempts by the government to prevent it, they probably aren’t) then they’re probably buying from the same people that produce batches mixed with some poorly-made overproof alcohol or even those deliberately made to harm like the batches that killed 89 people in Uganda a little under a decade ago. Alcohol consumption in East Africa remains a problem today, which is why the Ugandan government in particular is trying to get people to switch to beer.

You are talking about liquor, not beer. This conversation is about beer. And state-wide alcohol consumption problems have nothing to do with the conversation, and certainly won’t be fixed by JoeT’s InBev taking over. You made the moronic statement that local brews are “dangerous” and that it’s a public health concern that people are drinking it and that is 100% wrong. I’m glad you googled “east African alcohol consumption” to attempt to form an argument, though, good job.

…but the whole point is that East African governments are using policy and attracting foreign corporations to brew beer that is cheaper and taps into local taste. To get them away from locally-produced booze. You can’t really separate the two in this problem.

Local alcohol production is a public health problem in East Africa, though, and all of the national governments in the region plus the World Health Organisation are clamouring for solutions.

Try looking at those reports again: you’ll see that these local brews that you’re putting on a pedestal are often mixed with illicitly-made liquor (because selling lower ABV versions of waragi or tonto will ultimately get you less customers); this has had deadly consequences in the past (again, 89 deaths in Uganda in a major incident a decade ago, not to mention smaller, recurring cases that get less press coverage in the region) and other health consequences over the long-run.

So, 10 years ago, there was an incident with liquor in which people died, and so you think the proper response to that is to put tens of thousands of non-offending community brewers out of business and send in white people to clean up the mess and steal the profits.

There’s a name for that, it turns out: it’s called colonialism. It’s always great to see people exposing their true beliefs.


White people? It’s the Ugandan government (who have actively sought out assistance from the WHO) that is actively trying to get people to switch from oft-poisoned liquor to beer. If you don’t think that alcohol is causing a health crisis in across East Africa, then you’re wilfully denying a major problem because you have a romanticised attitude towards “Africans” drinking “local” alcohol.

And “10 years ago”? Have you not read any of my responses? This (poisoned liquor) has been an ongoing problem across the region for decades now.

Tell me honestly what you think is more important: public health in East Africa or your hard-on for hating a specific corporation. It’s easy to say you simply hate a corporation when you live in an isolated country, but the UN has been trying to offer assistance to governments in East Africa and Central Asia to curb alcoholism and limit the consumption of harmful drinking habits.

That’s what makes this interesting: the governments of countries like Uganda and Tanzania are tackling a widespread problem with alcoholism by getting people to switch to options that are lower in ABV.

Those brewers number in the tens. And there used to be more, but they were arrested because their products killed almost 100 people.

Tens? You are incredibly uninformed. Breweries exist at the village or even street level. You won’t find a community of any size without at least a few people brewing beer at homebrew capacities and selling to friends. These are the people that will no longer be able to run their business.

What does it matter if you can run your business when your clientele are all dying of liver cirrhosis? Illicit alcohol production is one of the biggest public health crises within the region, especially in Uganda.