Serengeti Breweries Limited – The Right Taste

Serengeti Breweries Limited has been going from strength to strength over the last decade, ensuring not only business growth but also improving the lives of local communities.

Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) was established in 1988 as Associated Breweries Ltd., with its first beer product, Serengeti Premium Lager – the first Tanzanian beer made of 100% malt – launched in 1996. In 2002, the company changed its name to Serengeti Breweries and in 2010 became part of a joint venture with EABL/Diageo, which acquired the majority stake.

Headquartered in Dar Es Salaam, SBL operates three breweries located in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Moshi. The company currently employs over 700 staff and sources most of its raw materials from a network of 400 local farmers – growers of barley, sorghum and maize.

Since the creation of SBL in 2002, the business has gone from strength to strength and the acquisition by EABL has seen increased investment in further development, providing new job opportunities for the people of Tanzania.

Strong brands

“We were the first brewer in Tanzania to introduce a 100% malt beer – Serengeti Premium Lager, and to offer local brands such as Pilsner, Uhuru, Kibo Gold and Senator, which are made of 100% local raw materials,” says John Wanyancha, Corporate Relations Director, pointing out that the business value chain contributes up to 1% of Tanzania’s GDP according to a study conducted by Deloitte in 2018.

“We are ISO 9002 & FSC 22000 certified for all 3 sites and all SBL beer brands have multiple local and international quality awards including Monde Selection gold and silver medals.”

He affirms that the SBL beer portfolio is well-positioned to cater for all customer needs and tastes. The company also has beer brands with a national reach as well regional brands that are targeted to communities in the respective regions.

In addition to producing its own beer and spirits, the company also imports international spirit brands produced by Diageo from across different markets in the world, including Smirnoff vodka, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Black and White, Gilbey’s, Baileys, Gordons to name just a few.

The portfolio both of beers and spirits is being continuously expanded in response to changing customer tastes and preferences. “We offer high-quality products that have endeared themselves to the hearts and minds of our consumers – the Serengeti brand is currently the number one beer in Tanzania.  The fact that SBL has a national footprint with a strong regional focus is a clear competitive advantage,” says John Wanyancha.

By the people for the people

A dedicated workforce that is highly motivated and well trained is another, he affirms. “SBL has a Supply and Finance Leadership Development Programme which is managed at global level, meaning our employees are learning the same content and are assessed with their peers from across other markets where Diageo operates.”

“We also have a mentorship programme as well as exchange and technical training programmes. Every year SBL also provides the opportunity to dozens of students from local colleges to undertake an internship attachment at its three breweries enabling them to gain practical learning in the respective fields of studies. In addition, the company has a graduate trainee programme, in which university graduates are recruited to work for the company.”

The company’s focus is not just on its own employees. SBL currently runs several community support programmes that impact and bring positive changes to the lives of millions of Tanzanians. The Water of Life is one of them: since 2010 SBL has undertaken 21 water boreholes across the country benefitting over 2 million Tanzanians with free clean and safe water.

Every year, SBL provides fully-funded scholarships for at least 30-40 students from local farmers’ communities to study agri-related diploma courses in local colleges with the aim of building technical capacities for the farming communities.

An important part of the company’s CSR is the Inclusion and Diversity programme that aims at promoting gender equity as well as the social-economic wellbeing of those with disabilities. The gender equity programme aims to empower women in Tanzania, a predominantly male-dominated society. SBL’s new spirits production facility is 100% run and managed by a team of female employees making the company stand out as a champion in this endeavour.

As alcohol abuse is a serious issue in Tanzania, every year the company reaches out to thousands of its customers and members of the public countrywide mainly drivers, college students, bodaboda riders and pedestrians with its Don’t Drink and Drive message, thus contributing to improving Tanzania’s road safety.

 Investing in the future

While the company has had to handle the Covid-19 challenge like everyone else, the pandemic has not hindered further development. “Recent years have witnessed the growth of our business, as customers embrace our efforts in product innovation and our commercialisation efforts take root,” says Mr Wanyancha.

He points out that as a result, SBL’s production capacity has needed expansion: over £13.5 million have been recently invested in the two breweries in Moshi and Dar es Salaam, with the Mwanza brewery expansion due to start later this year. On spirits production, SBL has built a new state-of-the-art spirits line in Moshi that is due to start commercial production for both local and international spirits brands from July this year.

With additional beer production capacity and the new spirit production line SBL predicts to have a steady growth trajectory in the next 12-18 months. The government’s decision to maintain the rates of excise duty in June 2021 for the fourth year in a row will also enable the industry to maintain beer prices and therefore drive volumes.

“Business growth however is also dependent on a number of external factors, such as the tax environment, the infrastructure and economic stability of the country,” reflects Mr Wanyancha. “SBL is confident that the various efforts that the government is undertaking will make Tanzania’s business environment conducive to investments.”

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