The History of Beer in Zambia
Beverage, National Breweries, Zambian Breweries

Zambian Breweries, born in 1963. Started off as Northern Breweries Limited. Back then it was a private company formed by South African Breweries and Labatt Breweries of Canada in a 80 to 20 percent shareholding agreement. Plants started brewing in Ndola and Lusaka. However, in 1963,government nationalized the company splitting it into two separate entities:Zambian breweries which was domicile in Lusaka and Northern Breweries which was aptly located in Ndola.

It remained so until the privatization of companies in the early 90s. Zambian Breweries was first to list on the stock exchange in 1997.With the strength of its balance sheet, it was able to acquire Northern Breweries in 1999. Once reunited, the Rhino Lager was born.

The company further grow its portfolio of beverages by acquiring the Coca-Cola franchise for Zambia which would have bottling plants in Kitwe and Lusaka. A monopoly in the clear beer game, the company boasts of a brand lineup that includes Castle Lager, Mosi Lager, Mosi Gold, Eagle Lager, Redd’s,Castle Lite, Carling Black Label, and Ohlsson’s Lager.

With a plethora of drinks, it was only a matter of time before Ab InBev would take notice of its parent company. In October 2016, the much-anticipated more than $100 billion merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller was closed. The closure of the deal brought with it strategic decisions that had to be made on the Zambian front regarding some of the beverages in its lineup. AB InBev are dominant in clear beer therefore, opaque beer remaining in the merged company’s roster was a tough sale. This was exacerbated by the fact that illicit competitive forces in the opaque market were eroding value in the industry.

At present, aside from Chibuku being laid off, Coca Cola also looks like it will be following suit. Current Managing Director Annabella Degroot has signaled that there are a number of companies interested in the opaque offering and that they would discontinue the sale of Coca-Cola products.

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