Heineken Ethiopia is partnering with local entrepreneurs to help refurbish their stores, including offer refrigerators for their products and pay their first year rent and have them exclusively sell its signature drinks under uniform like stores named, ‘251’. The company has so far rebranded about 50 of these stores in the capital and is expected to add more than 100 in the next year and plans go national.
For one of Ethiopia’s biggest beer breweries with brands such as its signature Heineken, Walia, Harar, Bedele and the low-alcohol Buckler – the new partnership is to help it promote its products in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes as the company temporary suspends the sale off its newly launched Heineken draft beer. According to sources, the suspension is temporary and it is to allow it to navigate the new business environment that has been hit hard by the virus.
In general, the Ethiopian beer sector has been hit with the addition of a sudden excise tax that has forced the price of a bottle of beer to jump on an average of 8 Birr. To Heineken, this has crippled its chances at expansion with a belated plan to build a factory and employ hundreds of additional people. This is in addition to a ban on advertisements announced last year.
With brewery plants in Harar, Bedele and Kilinto, Heineken recently donated 4.5 million Birr to help the Ethiopian National Resource Mobilization Committee effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and set-up hand washing stations in heavily dense and populated areas, such as Mercato and Megenagna.
The new partnership is to give Ethiopia its first uniform-like stores that are a fixture in western nations.
The Reporter reached out to the Communication Department of the Company for comment, but as of press time, there was no reply.