SABMiller’s first Namibian brewery has produced its inaugural brew, with bottles of Carling Black Label rolling off the packaging line. This marks a significant milestone for SABMiller Namibia, which previously imported all its beer from neighbouring South Africa. Construction of the new $33.3-million, 260, 000 hectolitre brewery in Okahandja began in mid-2013 and will be completely finalised at the end of October 2014.
SABMiller’s investments in Namibia, and more broadly across the continent, underline the company’s belief in the region and its ability to drive long-term growth in Africa. Its commitment in Namibia also aligns with the national government’s Vision 2030 of an industrial nation.
Mauricio Leyva MD of South African Breweries (SAB), said: “We expect the new Okahandja brewery to contribute to the creation of a vibrant manufacturing sector through which we will accelerate the emergence of small and medium sized Namibian businesses and help create a growing population of skilled employees by supporting education and providing training.”
SABMiller expects to support local job creation by employing 165 direct jobs once the brewery is fully operational later this year.
The Namibian brewery will be one of SABMiller’s most efficient and environmentally-friendly breweries of its size in the world. Since work began on the brewery’s construction, at least 30 million non-returnable glass bottles have been converted into returnable bottles and cardboard packaging previously used has been replaced with plastic crates to be used at the new brewery. This, as well as minimised transport requirements due to local production and distribution, will significantly reduce landfill and carbon emissions. In addition, the brewery will use just 3.25 litres of water per litre of beer in the brewing process.
SABMiller has a long history in Namibia, having imported beers from South Africa to service the local market for more than two decades. The company has an estimated 22% of the local market, with popular brands including Castle Lager, Carling Black Label and Castle Lite. These will be brewed on the new site in Okahanjda.
SABMiller Namibia is 60% owned by SABMiller and 40% by local Namibian partners comprising 20% Onyewu Investments (Pty) Ltd and 20% by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities.