Zimbabwe: Delta Closes Two Opaque Beer Breweries

DELTA Corporation is closing its Marondera and Karoi opaque beer breweries in a rationalisation process that will result in more closures as the company consolidates production and marketing of its new product, Chibuku Super, the company said.

The company said Chibuku Super has a longer shelf life than opaque brew.

New technology and machinery necessitated the changes as the company now produces Chibuku Super with a 21-day shelf life compared with the four days for opaque beer.

This development is pushing the company to restructure its production plants, marketing and distribution models.

Delta company secretary, Alex Makamure confirmed the closure of the breweries as a result of the rationalisation exercise.

"The national establishment of 15 Sorghum beer breweries was also part of the distribution network due to the limited shelf life of the product," said Makamure. "Chibuku Super is a result of a significant leap in product innovation and manufacturing technologies for this category, which allows for the establishment of mega breweries. The increase in shelf life will, of necessity result in the redundancy of some of the production sites."

He however hastened to say that no permanent jobs would be lost in the exercise.

"As a consequence, we will be scaling down production at certain sites that can be fed economically from other sites," he added, "This rationalisation will not result in any losses of permanent jobs as they will be absorbed in the distribution and freight departments and other Group operations."

The Chibuku Super brand is currently being produced at Chitungwiza Brewery and distributed nationally.

Delta says the new investment has released additional capacity for the production of standard Chibuku, particularly at the Harare Brewery and will lead to a significant change in the company's distribution platform.

The new changes will however affect some communities and short-term employment availed by the breweries in the towns they were based. It will further push unemployment which is already hovering around 80% with many companies going under liquidation.

More than 700 companies in 2013 applied for liquidation pushing slightly above 5000 workers out of employment according to labour unions.

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