Tabitha Karanja Kenya CEO, Ke­roche Brew­eries

The Africa Report - - BUSINESSS -

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.

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