As Ethiopia is becoming used to a large selection of beers, Les Societes Anonymes des Brasseries du Cameroun (SABC), a company that is partly owned by Heineken and BGI, which the later owns 75 percent of all shares, is set to launch a new beer in the country, through BGI Ethiopia – Beaufort beer.
BGI, one of Ethiopia’s leading brewers of the St. George, Amber and Castle brands has placed sleek advertisements throughout the capital to introduce its latest acquisition. Bottled in Heineken-like bottles in rich green, the beer is described as a “blonde lager” and is set to make its debut a week after the Ethiopian New Year in September.
One of the larger than life advertisements is in the Bole area, in front of the Sangam Indian restaurant, on a Yeshi building that houses La Parisienne café. While the illustration has half of the spelling of the name of the new beer, it intentionally left out the other half. According to Isayas Hadera, Marketing Manager of BGI Ethiopia, the idea is to engage and have the public guess the name of the new beer.
This comes as Dashen launched a new beer, Balageru and Heineken debuted its signature product earlier this year and the Zebidar brand was launched less than a year ago. Diageo has also made an encore performance of its Guinness products, after BGI failed to do so a decade-and-a-half ago.
SABC is headquartered in Cameroon and one of its major shareholders is the President of the Central African nation, Paul Biya. Known for owning and sponsoring football teams in the country, it has more than 75 percent of the beverage market in the country. It is also involved in the production of non-alcoholic product, including Coca Cola and locally made products.
The company was established in 1948 and has been brewing beers in Cameroon since 1952. It is also heavily involved in the exportation of beverages to more than 20 countries. Beaufort pale lager is considered a light-beer at an alcoholic rate of only 4.6 percent.
BGI is a subsidiary of Castle Group, a company known to make brand name wines, including the Acacia brand in Ethiopia.