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Branded beer hits the spot in Africa

News, 15 January 2016

LONDON: Africa is the fastest growing beer market in the world, thanks to urbanisation, rising incomes and a growing working-age population, according to a recent report.

In its latest Global Beer Trends study, drinks researcher Canadean forecast 5% volume growth across the continent from 2015 to 2020, compared to 3% for Asia and 1% or less in Europe and North America, The Drinks Business reported.

South Africa, Nigeria and Angola are expected to account for the greater part of the incremental increase of 37,000 hectolitres over the five-year period.

While economic growth and a young population would be important pointers to growth anywhere, there is an additional factor at work in Africa where home-brewed beers have long been available.

"The consumption growth in these markets will be stimulated by the consumer migration from home-brewed to more commercially brewed beers and consequently towards premium brands", according to Piyumika Jayasena, an analyst at Canadean.

Drinking home-brewed beer is not without risk, according to Paul Nugent, Professor of Comparative African History at the University of Edinburgh. "Sellers are often tempted to add things to increase the kick," he told African Business.

Jayasena added that "brewers are increasingly engaged in producing more innovative non-malt based products to further enhance the consumer base of the regular beer".

These include flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs) and cider. In Nigeria, for example, Canadean expects the FAB market to grow from 11m litres in 2015 to 70m litres by 2020.

The success of this segment has been attributed primarily to the launch of Orijin, brewed by Guinness.

"Its higher alcohol content (6%) and the promise of African herbs and the right blend of traditional and modern elements have attracted consumers and other brewers are looking to emulate this success," explained Canadean analyst Kieron Gradwell.

Innovative marketing and the recruitment of popular rapper Reminisce as a brand ambassador have also helped. Orijin was named the 2015 Brand of the Year by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria.

Data sourced from The Drink Business, African Business, New Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff