HARARE – Delta Beverages investment of over $6,5 million in its Chitungwiza-based Chibuku Super plant has paid off, the units general manager Mark Mudimbu has said.
“The investment has paid off because of the high and enthusiastic ?acceptance of the product. We have been operating for three months and the plant is contributing significantly to the volumes of the business, so much that we are looking at further investment to increase production,” he said.
Mudimbu said the factory which produces 150 000 litres per day, was currently the sole producer of the polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) bottled product in the country.
The new line, designed in Germany, includes an online blow moulder, a pasteuriser and a shrink wrapping machine which will all be a first for opaque beer making not only in Zimbabwe, but across Africa.
“This is the only Pet manufacturing plant we have in the country and for the other Chibuku we have about 15 countrywide. This plant is now 100 percent Chibuku Super manufacturer,” he said.
“We are currently distributing to Bulawayo, Mutare and Harare, but the bulk of the product is consumed in Harare,” Mudimbu said.
He however, said the beverage maker will continue producing its traditional Chibuku.
“We will let this one take its market share, its introduction does not mean the phasing out of the old Chibuku,” the plant head said.
Chibuku Super is carbonated sorghum brew with a 12-day shelf life.
The introduction of Chibuku Super in Zimbabwe comes hot on the heels of a bold and ambitious goal by London Stock Exchange-listed beer giant SAB Miller to expand its portfolio across Africa by driving the roll out of Chibuku across the continent.
Delta Beverages is an affiliate of the global SAB operation.
The global brewer is this year looking to seed and expand the product in other parts of Africa after spreading it as far afield as Ghana and Uganda.
SAB Miller’s Zambia unit piloted Chibuku Super last year, and has been unable to meet demand for the product.
Last year, Delta commissioned a new $17 million beverages bottling plant that has a capacity to produce 700 000 hectolitres (70 million litres) per annum.
The new beer plant — which is more efficient on utilities like water and electricity — has helped the company in cost reductions.
Since 2009, the company has been on an aggressive recapitalisation programme, and this new machine will improve supplies significantly and eliminate the current intermittent shortages of some product lines.