New craft brewer takes Nigerian beer market by storm
FROM PALE ale with tangs of passion fruit and mango to a heady stout with 10 percent alcohol, a pioneering craft brewer in Nigeria is seeking to expand and grab more of a market dominated by Heineken and Diageo.
Bature Brewery has faced a slog to launch the first commercial products from its microbrewery tucked behind a burger joint in the capital, seeking to gain a foothold in Africa’s second biggest beer market.
It has had to navigate Nigeria’s Byzantine bureaucracy to secure a licence, install cables and a generator to deal with frequent blackouts and raise financing to import equipment and ingredients while the naira currency plunged.
But the three expatriate founders of Bature, who want to turn a passion for home brewing into commercial success, have been spurred on by an enthusiastic reception for their beers and encouraged by growth prospects in a nation of some 190 million.
Nigerians drink 16 million hectolitres of beer a year, which is half as much as South Africans – the continent’s biggest beer market – even though Nigeria has a population that is more than three times the size.
Go for it
“Having Nigerians taste our beer and say, ‘Wow, this is really great,’ we decided to go for it and try and build this first (craft) brewery here in Nigeria,” cofounder Kevin Conroy said.
Conroy, a Scot, came to Nigeria like his two co-founding colleagues to work in international development. Tired of mass-produced beers , the three brewed their own and soon found others liked it too.
Conroy still works in development alongside helping build the brewer. His two colleagues – James Turley and Andrew Seward – have both quit their development jobs.
Bature – pronounced bator-ray and meaning “white person” or “European” in the Hausa language mainly spoken in northern Nigeria – started production from its Abuja brewery in June. It now aims to raise £15 000 (about R252 500) via the Indiegogo crowd funding site for a new equipment and a tap room where the public can try Bature brews on site.
The micro brewery’s ambitions remain modest in the giant market. Bature plans to produce 40 000 to 50 000 litres in the next 12 months.
But its premium price reflects confidence in a class of more affluent drinkers in Nigeria, even when the oil-producing nation’s economy has been hammered by weak crude prices.
“There is demand here – some major hotel chains have asked to stock us,” said Conroy. – Reuters
Kelvin Conroy, co-founder of the Bature brewery, stands behind a bottle of Bature beer on the front desk at the Bature brewery in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigerians drink 16 million hectolitres of beer a year. Bature is a well-received addition.