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Cheers to the role beer has played in Kenya’s economy

OPINION
By Graham Villiers-Tuthil | August 7th 2021

Humanity has brewed beer for thousands of years. There is evidence of beer brewing in China in 7000 BC, ancient Egyptians documented the brewing process around 5000 BC, and jugs of beer have been found in the foothills of Iran from around 3500 BC.

Beer is part of our history, culture and how we socialise. As we mark International Beer Day this week, it is important to note the critical role beer plays in our economy, communities and consumers.

Now, Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) will turn 100 years old in 2022. As we approach our Centenary year, we can reflect on the role the brewer has played in the economy. It contributes 0.8 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while contributing two per cent of total employment. It supports over 85,000 businesses across the value chain, hiring over 1,000 people and engaging over 40,000 distributors, outlets and retailers.

Our beer is proudly made using Kenyan ingredients, and we are committed to sourcing 80 per cent of our raw materials locally. We purchase barley and sorghum from over 47,000 farmers.

Annually, these farmers receive over Sh1 billion in payment. We have a dedicated team, along with specialist third parties like Farm Force, who work with farmers to improve their yield, productivity and sustainable farming practices.

We are aware of our role in operating sustainably and protecting our shared environment. We are one of the most efficient beer sites in Diageo with regards to water efficiency per litre of beer produced, 25 per cent more efficient in water usage versus the average brewery. We are committed to sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. We recently announced a Sh22 billion investment in water recovery and renewable energy.

Through our brands, we have invested in Kenyan sports, music, arts and entertainment industries. The Tusker brand proudly embodies the spirit of Kenya, and we have invested in those that fly the Kenyan flag high. We are proud owners of Tusker FC and are hoping that the team’s winning streak continues!

This Olympic season, Tusker supported Team Kenya with Sh45 million and we are proud to be closer to our Olympians with our ‘Cheers our Champions’ campaign where consumers can win cash, kit and prizes and send messages of support to the Kenyan Olympic team.

International Beer Day is a great time to step back and appreciate the positive role iconic beer brands play in our society.

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