SABMiller launches second cassava beer in Africa
14 March 2013
- Launch in Ghana builds on success of Impala in Mozambique
- Expansion of SABMiller’s strategy to increase choice for low-income consumers
SABMiller plc (SAB.L) today announces the launch of a cassava beer in Ghana. The beer will be brewed by SABMiller’s local subsidiary, Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), under the brand name ‘Eagle’. The launch builds on the success of the world’s first commercially-made cassava beer, Impala, which SABMiller unveiled in Mozambique 18 months ago.
Prior to Impala’s launch in Mozambique, cassava had never been used to brew beer on a commercial scale because of the logistical challenge of collecting the roots from smallholder farmers who are widely dispersed, along with its rapid deterioration immediately after harvesting. Cassava is a reliable source of starch across most of Africa, but it starts to degrade almost immediately after it is harvested, which, together with its high water content, makes it unsuitable for transporting over long distances.
Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa, said: “Part of our strategy across Africa is to make high quality beer which is affordable for low-income consumers while simultaneously creating opportunities for smallholder farmers in our markets. The launch of Eagle in Ghana ticks both these boxes.
“Eagle is aimed at attracting low-income consumers away from illicit alcohol. This is a virtuous circle: smallholder cassava farmers have a guaranteed market for their crop, which is then used to make consistently high quality, affordable beer for consumers; and the government realises increased revenues as people trade up into formal, taxable alcohol consumption.”
Accra Brewery has partnered with DADTCO (Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company) Cassava Processing Ghana Limited, which has designed a mobile processing unit (AMPU) that travels to the cassava growing regions and processes the root in situ, preserving the integrity of the starch. SABMiller already works with DADTCO in Mozambique where the same technology is used. This initiative is part of SABMiller’s ‘Farming Better Futures’ programme. Within the first year, ABL expects to source the cassava from as many as 1,500 smallholder farmers.
Much of the cassava in Ghana is grown by subsistence farmers and there is an estimated 40% surplus each year partly because there is little opportunity for farmers to sell the produce in commercial markets. The launch of Eagle will provide an opportunity to turn locally grown cassava into a cash crop, allowing farmers to generate income whilst continuing to feed their families and, at the same time, reducing the crop’s surplus.
Eagle will be sold in 375ml bottles at a price point equal to 70% of mainstream lager. This is made possible by a reduced excise rate agreed with the Ghanaian government in recognition of the use of locally-sourced commodities and the long-term contribution that Eagle is expected to make to agricultural and economic development in the country.
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Notes to editors
Overview of SABMiller
SABMiller plc is one of the world’s leading brewers with more than 200 beer brands and some 70,000 employees in over 75 countries. The group’s portfolio includes global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch; as well as leading local brands such as Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (USA), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland). SABMiller also has growing soft drinks businesses and is one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.
In the year ended 31 March 2012 the group reported EBITA of US$5,634 million and group revenue of US$31,388 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
B-roll footage of the cassava beer process is available for download from our broadcast footage library.
High resolution images of cassava farmers are available for download from our media image library.
The Guardian’s farming and food security hub
You can read more about SABMiller’s approach to agriculture and food on the Guardian’s farming and food security hub.
Find out more about Impala, the first-ever commercial-scale, cassava-based clear beer.
This film shows the production process of 'Impala' and looks at some of SABMiller's other agricultural programmes across Africa.