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February 20, 2018

KBL boosts Senator production capacity to feed growing demand

A worker checks beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the East African Breweries Ruaraka factory in Nairobi, Kenya February 17, 2010. REUTERS
A worker checks beer bottles on a conveyor belt at the East African Breweries Ruaraka factory in Nairobi, Kenya February 17, 2010. REUTERS

Kenya Breweries Limited has expanded its end-to-end capacity for the production and distribution of Senator to meet existing and emerging demand for the low-end beer brand.

In a short-term plan to boost capacity, KBL has unveiled newly-installed rackers in its Ruaraka plant following a Sh800 million project expected to increase its Senator production by 20 percent.

KBL managing director Jane Karuku said the move is among the measures in place to plug the gap in Senator demand, ahead of the commissioning of the Sh15 billion brewery in Kisumu within two years. KBL is also seeking applications for Senator Keg distributors, a central part of its larger plan to improve its products footprint across Kenya.

“Demand in Senator has been growing faster than we expected in the last year as more retailers open new outlets and more consumers trade up from illicit brews. We have responded to this trend with the newly-commissioned rackers project meant to lift our production capacity. We hope to meet demand with this, ahead of the Kisumu brewery opening,” said Karuku.

Senator is distributed in 50-litre kegs or barrels, in which the iconic beer is distributed across Kenya. To package Senator, kegs are filled with product using a piece of equipment called a racker, whereby empty kegs are positioned successively at one end of the racker before passing sequentially through a series of stations where different operations are performed on the kegs before sealing. 

Karuku said the plans are afoot to expand the beer's distribution and retail network in a broader plan to ensure retailers and customers are supplied adequately and on time.

In long run, the state-of-the-art brewery in Kisumu will remain a key pillar of KBL’s next growth agenda, given its scale and potential to produce 1 million hectolitres per year. The Kisumu brewery is projected to create up to 110,000 direct and value-chain jobs including an expected 15,000 new farmers supplying it with sorghum and millet.

Since it started the production of keg beer in 2004, KBL has invested heavily into the production distribution and retail of Africa’s most successful low-end beer brand, with billions of shilling dedicated to research and extension services for sorghum, production and packaging. 

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