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Brewers oppose move to raise alcohol packaging to 750ml

By Macharia Kamau | Jan 28th 2021 | 2 min read
By Macharia Kamau | January 28th 2021

A KRA officer inspects alcoholic drinks in Nairobi, Embakasi sub-county to fish out businesses with no health and operating licenses. [Willis Awandu, Standard] 

Makers of alcoholic beverages have opposed plans to ban the sale of alcoholic drinks in bottles of less than 750ml (millilitres).

The players termed the proposal to amend the Alcoholic Drinks and Control Act 2010 to increase the minimum amount that manufacturers can package in a bottle from 250ml to 750ml as outrageous and retrogressive.

The amendment Bill, sponsored by Wundanyi MP Danson Mwakuwona aims at curbing excessive consumption of alcohol.

It has already gone through the first reading and is now with the National Assembly’s Committee on Administrative and National Security, which is now seeking comments from the public.

Brewers’ lobby, the Alcohol Beverage Association of Kenya (ABAK) said the proposals would push consumers to illicit alternatives while opening up the local market to contrabands from Uganda and Tanzania.

Illicit alcohol

“The proposed law is discriminatory to a majority of the alcohol beverage consumers who cannot afford alcohol packaged in 750ml containers…,” said ABAK Chair Gordon Mutugi in a statement.

“Legally prescribing that consumers buy more than they can consume is not only encouraging irresponsible drinking but is also counterproductive in the fight against illicit alcohol consumption (due to unaffordability) which the government has been combating for many years.”

ABAK argued that elimination of the option to sell alcohol in smaller packages would force those who cannot afford quality alcoholic beverages sold in larger packages to seek illicit and unhealthy alternatives.

The Bill introduces provisions for a deposit on returnable glass bottles to incentivise manufacturers. Mr Mutugi said this would push players to package the product in plastic bottles, which is detrimental to the environment. 

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