What you need to know:
- The beer will retail at Sh100 and, according to the Keroche boss.
- The company produces Summit Lager, Summit Malt, Vienna Ice, Viena Ice Lemon Twist and Valley Wine.
Those who enjoy their beer know that it often takes more than just a few bottles to really get drunk.
However, this is soon going to change after Keroche Breweries launched its latest beer brand, upping production to about 50 per cent, amid a depressed market occasioned by the Covid-19 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.
Mrs Karanja, Keroche's chief executive officer, 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's desire is to be a local market leader and the company has firmly kept its eyes on the ball,” said the CEO during a press briefing at the launch ceremony in Naivasha where Keroche Breweries is located.
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 Sh100 and, according to the Keroche boss. She revealed that 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 added that she 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 Keroche CEO.
An increasing customer base that grew between 2003 and 2007 triggered the brewer's expansion, aimed at catering for the middle and upper beer market.
In 2008, Keroche Breweries launched a state-of-the-art brewing plant with a capacity of 100,000 hectolitres and with it came Kenya’s first sugar-free beer – Summit Lager.
21st century brew house
The history of the Naivasha-based company also dates back to 2012 when the beer maker installed a 21st century state-of-the-art brewery with a production capacity of 1 million hectolitres per year and 300 hectolitres per brew.
The new plant was financed by the then Barclays Bank to a tune of Sh5 billion.
Keroche Operations Manager Nicholas Kipchirchir said most of the beers produced locally have 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 told the Nation.
“Our primary targets are consumers who don’t like spirits but have a high affinity for strong brands,” he disclosed.
He said the plant has a capacity of producing 30 different brands.
The company produces 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.