Bottle of Tusker Beer from East African Breweries.

Bottle of Tusker Beer from East African Breweries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

East African Breweries Limited is a large East African brewing company which owns 80% of Kenya Breweries, 98.2% of Uganda Breweries, 100% of Central Glass – a glass manufacturer, 100% of Kenya Maltings and 46% of United Distillers and Vintners (Kenya) Limited, 100% of International Distilers Uganda, 100% EABL International (responsible for exporting), 100% of East African Maltings, 100% EABL Foundation and 51% of Serengeti Breweries limited.

Kenya Breweries was founded in 1922 by two white settlers, George and Charles Hurst.The company is owned by the Dodd family of Kenya. By 1990, most of the shareholders were Kenyan and the company was very successful.

Tanzania Breweries had been started by Kenya Breweries in the 1930s. After being nationalized in 1967, Tanzania Breweries was poorly managed. However, in 1993 the Tanzanian government entered into a joint venture with South African Breweries Limited to run Tanzania Breweries. South African Breweries is one of the largest and most efficient brewing companies in the world. They turned Tanzania Breweries around with extraordinary speed, almost tripling production in the space of three years.

In 2002 East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and SABMiller Plc. effected a share swap of their interests in their subsidiaries: Kenya Breweries Limited and Tanzania Breweries Limited. EABL acquired 20% of the equity of Tanzania Breweries. SABMiller Plc. acquired a 20% equity stake in Kenya Breweries.

The partnership between EABL and SAB Miller in Tanzania went through turbulence in 2009, EABL claiming breach of contract by Tanzania Breweries (TBL) that led to low quality of EABL’s drinks that were produced by TBL and restriction of some of Diageo’s and EABL brands to enter the Tanzanian market. This led to EABL’s acquisition of 51% of Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) and exit from TBL’s shareholder structure. SAB Miller still holds 20% in Kenya Breweries.

In 2003, Kenya Breweries consumed almost 6 % of the Nairobi water supply.

The largest shareholder is Diageo Plc. EABL’s primary listing is on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, and is cross-listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchanges.

Tusker brands Tusker is the main brand of East African Breweries with over 30% of the Kenyan beer market selling more than 700,000 hectolitres per year. Tusker is also the largest beer brand in the Diageo group of companies. It is a 4.2% abv pale lager. The brand was first marketed in 1923, shortly after the founder of Kenya Breweries Ltd, George Hurst, was killed by an elephant during a hunting accident. It was in this year that the elephant logo, that is synonymous with Tusker Lager, was incorporated. The slogan “Bia Yangu, Nchi Yangu”, means “My Beer, My Country” in Swahili.

In early 2008, the UK supermarket chain Tesco began selling Tusker, followed soon after by Sainsbury’s.

Brands in Kenya
Tusker – 4.2% ABV Pale Lager
Tusker Malt – 5% ABV Premium Lager
Tusker Lite – 4% ABV Lite Lager – introduced November 2011

Pilsner – Pale lager aimed at contemporary adults
Pilsner Ice – 5.2% ABV Pale Lager – introduced November 2011

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout – 7.5% ABV Stout

Allsopps Lager – 5.5% ABVLager
Senator Lager – 6% ABV Barley Beer
President Extra Lager – 6.6& ABV -0 Lager

Brands in Uganda
Bell Lager

Brands in Tanzania
Serengeti Lager

The company also makes Uganda Waragi, a 40% abv brand of waragi, traditional Ugandan liquor, and the leading branded distilled beverage in Uganda. It is made from millet, and triple distilled. It is known in Uganda as “The Spirit of Uganda,” or simply UG. The main markets include other African countries such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

In 1965, “The Enguli Act” decreed that distillation would only be legal under license, and distillers should sell to the government run Uganda Distilleries Ltd – which produced a branded bottled product, marketed under the name Uganda Waragi.