Tabitha Karanja Kenya CEO, Keroche Breweries
Taking on the entrenched multinationals to create the only Kenyan-owned brewery is no small challenge. After a debut in fortified wine, Karanja launched Summit Lager, whose popularity allowed the company to build a $29m factory expansion at their Naivasha headquarters. Now producing 10m litres, the company will be able to produce 110m litres. But fighting local market leader East African Breweries, owned by global drinks giant Diageo, has
proved tough. Distributors are unwilling to take on small producers like Keroche. But that did not stop Karanja from spotting a gap in the market for low-income drinkers, who often swallow cheap and dangerous homemade concoctions. Recent years have been more of a strain, due in no small part to a sparring match with the tax authorities. But Karanja recently won her court battle with the Kenya Revenue Authoritiy and has now hired a new managing director, Sam Shollei, to run the brewery. Karanja is now mulling a regional expansion. “My dream is to see Keroche grow to the whole of Africa,” she told reporters.