Beer Makers Tap Into African Markets

While American and European thirst for beer drops slowly, beer makers are looking to tap new drinkers: Africans. With new expansion into the home-brew market, SABMiller and Heineken are hoping to capture a new generation of brew lovers.

SABMiller expanded its African brew in Ethiopia and Ghana this month, and plans to use local ingredients to boost the economy. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the beer, however, isn't like the Miller Lite or Grolsch you'd find in the States. Called Chibuku, SABMiller's South African brew is similar to the country's native home brews (Weird fact: the beer is called "Shake-Shake" because drinkers have to shake the container to separate the yogurt paste at the bottom.) Its home-brew rival, Brukutu, is a corn and sorghum mix that drinkers say isn't as hygenic as the commercial alternative. For $0.58, the Chibuku has a staggeringly low price compared to mainstream beers.

The company plans to start selling Chibuku in 12 countries in as little as three years, and they're hardly the only brewery eyeing Africa. Heineken has bought a total of seven African breweries to distribute their Western brews, while Diageo (behind the Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff brands) bought a $225 million brewery in Ethiopia this year.