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Africa the next great beer frontier

The African beer market is exploding, with research predicting an annual average growth rate of 5% between 2013 and 2017 – making it the fastest growing region in the world.

Home-brewed beer poses a serious health risk (Photo: Canadean)

African consumers are moving away from home-brewed beers and drinks at a growing pace, trading up to commercial beers and then on to more premium products.

Research by Canadean into the global beer market puts Africa on the top spot, outstripping growth in the expanding Asian and Latin American markets, which are projected to grow 4% and 3% respectively.

The health risks associated with homemade alcohol – combined with growing populations, reduced foreign debt and improved economies in African nations – is seeing people increasingly turn to commercial beers.

Kenya Breweries’ Senator Keg, a beer brewed from cheaper sorghum but designed to look and taste like malt beer, was the first brand specifically created to target consumers entering the commercial beer market. Its growth has been indicative of the trend in Africa, as consumers are trading up from the entry level to more prestigious brands.

Premium brands witnessed an average annual growth rate of almost 12% between 2008 and 2013, compared to 6% for mainstream beer and 6% for African beer overall.

South Africa is by far the biggest market in Africa, with an expected total volume of 30.9m hectolitres in 2014, followed by Nigeria with 15.2m hl and Angola with 12.8m hl.

In more established markets, beer is set to flatline or even retract. North America is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 1% by 2017, while Eastern Europe will see a standstill and Western Europe will be contracting 1% per annum.

“At the moment homemade alcohol products still dominate the African market, but they pose a significant health risk. This is an incentive for consumers to move away from ‘home brews’ and instead turn to commercial beer,” said Canadean account director Kevin Baker.

See Editorial in the March edition of the drinks business for more on the prospects in Africa. 


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