In the year that it is celebrating its 50th anniversary, Rwanda’s sole beer producer, Bralirwa, has launched a new beer brand to add to its expanding beer portfolio.
Bralirwa’s Commercial director, Alexander Koch, says that the launch of the new beer, Turbo King is in line with the company’s quest to seek for further opportunities to celebrate with and bring enjoyment to the consumers of its products.
“After the Primus Jubilee Party held in August, the Recent Mutzig Music Tour and Beerfest, Bralirwa is looking for further opportunities to celebrate with its consumers, the ultimate objective being bringing enjoyment to our consumers,” said Koch during a meeting with the press to break the news about the planned launch of the new beer.
Unlike Bralirwa’s other beers, Turbo King is a high quality beer with a stronger and richer taste. The new kid on the block has an alcoholic percentage 6.5.
This makes it 1 percentage point stronger than the company’s high end market beer, Mutzig and 1.5 percentage points stronger than its flagship brand, Primus.
The introduction of the new beer is yet another affirmation of the company’s responsiveness to consumer demands in a rapidly changing business environment.
Indeed, as Koch acknowledged, the business environment, more particularly the beverage market in Rwanda is constantly changing and the company has to always come up with innovative ways to meet consumer needs.
The new brand of beer which will be available in a few weeks’ time continues Bralirwa’s long running history of high quality beers which readily resonate with consumers once they hit the market.
Perhaps taking the top spot among Bralirwa’s beer brands is Primus, which has been in existence since 1959.
Other beers in Bralirwa’s beer portfolio include Mutzig, which continues to enjoy a successful commercial run since its launch in the Rwandan market over two decades ago. Another of Bralirwa’s much sought after beer brands is Amstel.
The beer was initially imported from Burundi until 2001 when the company started manufacturing it locally. The company is also the local official distributor of the world renowned beer brands, Guinness and Heineken.
The runaway commercial success of Bralirwa’s beer products is attributable to its business model which is built on three pillars: passion for quality, enjoyment to consumers and respect for environment.
According to Koch, these underline all the company’s manufacturing and commercial undertakings.
Although not directly linked to the introduction of the new beer brand, Rwanda recently joined the East African Community and these heralds a new era of competition not least in the beer manufacturing business.
What this means is that in the not so distant future, Bralirwa will have to start fighting on its turf with other beer manufacturers who are sure to make forays into the local market.
But this not something the top management at Bralirwa is spending sleepless nights thinking about.
“We are not afraid of competition. In fact we embrace competition because it gives consumers a choice,” says Braalirwa’s commercial director adding that the presence of more players in the Rwanda’s beer manufacturing business will give the company a chance to prove that it has the products in the market.
Rwanda’s per capita consumption of beer is still at 9 percent, compared to some neighboring countries that record up to 15 per capita.
He however says that the low beer consumption rate in the country is an indication that the local market has potential for growth.
And this is the market the company is bracing itself to further tap into with its new beer, Turbo King.
Bralirwa’s beer products command 95 percent share of the local market with half of the company’s beer being consumed in Kigali.
Bralirwa is also the local manufacturer of the Atlanta-based soft drinks giant, the Coca-Cola Company.
Among the soft drinks manufactured by the company include Fanta Orange, Coca-cola, Sprite, Krest Tonic, Fanta Citron, and Vitalo Soda. In 2005, the company added to this tantalizing list a brand new flavour: Fanta Maracuja.
Most of the company’s manufacturing activities are carried out at its Gisenyi plant in Western Province.
The plant has a capacity of 110 million litres and produces 130 million bottles annually.
As part of efforts to stay in tandem with the dynamic nature of consumer demands, the company has in the past few years spent staggering sums of money to upgrade its plant.
Mr Koch says that between 2006 and 2008 alone, the company spent an approximated USD 30 million to improve the plant’s technical capacity.