Botswana Breweries and the Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) sounded warning bells to their competitors this week about its impending trail-blazing premium brand, ST Louis Export Lager, which is expected to be on the shelves by the end of next month.
The move is part of the giant KBLÔÇöa subsidiary of Sechaba Holdings ÔÇô to try to shrug off competition from some of its competitors within the southern African region, especially after the introduction of the alcohol levy.
According to the company, beer sales volume slouched down by negative 0.5 percentÔÇöexcluding export ÔÇô on full year to the end of March 31 this year and that was largely blamed on the negative impact of the alcohol levy.
The first ever premium beer to be produced in Botswana will come in 340 ml green bottles with the aim of trying to bridge the gap that was left by the likes of Armstel, which moved out of the SABMiller stable in the southern African region.
The new developments mean that St. Louis beer is likely to bounce back to a position where it is attributable to over 50 percent of the company’s beer sales.
Of late, its position slide down to 43.8 percent was closely followed by Carling Black Label at 19 percent.
With the advent of St Louis Export, the brand will be spread across all segments from non-alcoholic beers (being St Louis 24), clear beer (being St Louis) that was first launched on the market in 1985.
St Louis Export has an alcohol content of 4.7 percent ÔÇô a difference of about 1.2 percent compared to clear beer.
Sesupo Wagamang, KBL’s Marketing Director, praised St Louis premium saying the product has the capability of competing internationally.
“ST Louis Export Lager is positioned as a premium beer, which is good enough to compete with the best beers in the world, hence the pay-off line, the beer was developed by the most talented brew masters, who have had decades of experience with Kgalagadi breweries,” he said.
According to the plan, KBL will first try to get the brand to penetrate the domestic market before it could be exported into countries north of Botswana where St Louis clear beer is already available.