Harare will not do opaque beer

HARARE City Council (HCC) has dumped the idea of reintroducing its opaque beer brands Rufaro Mhamba and Buffalo Lager citing stiff competition on the beer market.

Acting town clerk Josephine Ncube said after conducting a feasibility study of the beer market, it would be unwise to enter. In May, the city had mulled resuscitating its Rufaro Marketing beer brands as a way to increase revenue at the financially struggling local authority  

Opaque beer which was once popular at council’s Rufaro Marketing taverns was phased out after the struggling municipal business unit folded in 2012.

Had the resuscitation of council’s beer brands popularly referred to as Chingoto been successful, HCC would be competing with local manufacturer Ruwa-based Ngoda traditional beer and multinational conglomerate Delta Corporation’s Chibuku Super.

Other local authorities in the opaque beer manufacturing industry include KweKwe Breweries which brews Simba, Ingwebu which is based in Bulawayo and Gweru-based Go Beer.  Ncube said that the market’s biggest competitor Delta Beverages had made massive improvements into their plants across the country and entering the market would be unattractive.

“Rufaro Marketing had sold the plant, machinery, equipment, furniture, distribution vehicles and spares to Delta beverages. Delta then made some improvements to the plant which included two boilers, six multipurpose vessels, 25 fermenters, cooling towers, four hammer mills, packaging line, 15 trucks and 21 trailers estimated at $1,8 million. Hence introducing a new brand of traditional beer would entail setting up a new malting plant or otherwise on Delta platform,” she said.

Ncube also cited that retail outlets that would support the introduction of the beer brands were already on lease after council had failed to raise their working capital and refurbishment costs.

The acting town clerk also said Southern Brewery was on lease to Delta and also too big an infrastructure to use on a new entrant. She said to get a lease to produce beer required three years of which it would be too short a time to mobilise resources to start operating.

“Delta may retaliate entry of Rufaro through discounted pricing riding on their efficiency and experience curve effects built over the years. Also the current prevailing economic conditions are not ideal for introducing a new brand of traditional beer as Delta was operating at 55 percent,” she said. —Helen Kadirire

Post a comment