SABMiller to double production in Southern Sudan

SABMiller subsidiary company, Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd (SSBL), has announced that it is doubling the size of its existing brewery operations in Juba and has introduced a soft drinks range and bottled water product into the country.

By the end of 2010, brewery operations will have increased to 350,000 hectolitres (hl) from its initial 180,000hl capacity at opening in May 2009.

According to a company press release, the brewery will continue producing White Bull lager and Chairman’s Extra Strong Beer in addition to beginning production of two of SABMiller’s existing brands Nile Special Lager and Club Pilsner.

Carbonated soft drink (CSD) capacity will also be increased from 60,000hl to 320,000hl in response to the initial popularity of SSBL’s Club Minerals Sparkling Soft Drinks range and Source Pure Drinking Water.

Ian Alsworth-Elvey, managing director of SSBL said: “Many people questioned our logic in building not only the first brewery that Southern Sudan had seen for 50 years but also the first manufacturing facility in Juba. However, the business has had a very warm welcome to the country and our beer, soft drinks and water brands have found real traction with consumers. These products are comparable to any in the world and offer a local, high quality product at an affordable price.

“We have sold more beer in the first three months of our second year of operation than we did in the first nine months since production began and in 18 months we have turned the brand into one of the most recognisable in the country,” he added.

Earlier this year SABMiller won nearly $1 million funding from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) to introduce an innovative local sourcing model for cassava which will provide the ingredients from which beer will be brewed.

SABMiller is partnering with NGO, FARM-Africa, to implement the initiative which would bring direct and long-term market opportunities for around 2,000 smallholder farmers with dependants and other employment effects ensuring approximately 15,600 people could benefit in three years.