Brewers in Tanzania have responded to the government ban on the sale of alcohol in sachets by introducing smaller bottles of popular brands and reducing the prices of some of their products.
Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL) now has 375ml bottles of its popular Safari, Kilimanjaro and Castle Lager brands, which were only sold in 500ml bottles. The smaller bottles are being sold at Tsh1,800 ($0.8) for Safari and Kilimanjaro, and Tsh2,000 ($0.9) for Castle Lager.
The 500ml Safari and Kilimanjaro brands are sold at Tsh2,500 ($1) while Castle Lager of the same volume is sold at Tsh2,700 ($1.2) at retail outlets.The Eagle and Balimi brands in 500ml bottles are going for Tsh1,500 ($ 0.67).
Serengeti Breweries Ltd (SBL), on its part, has reduced prices, with the 500ml Serengeti bottle selling at Tsh2,000 ($0.9), from Tsh2,500 ($1), and Pilsner at Tsh1,500 ($0.67). The 330ml bottle now retails at Tsh1,500 ($0.67).
The Tanzanian brewers have been going through a rough patch since February, when the government banned the sale of alcohol in sachets, which is largely blamed for the rising cases of alcoholism among the youth.
Following the new measures, TBL's subsidiary Tanzania Distilleries Ltd (TDL) has announced it will lay off 50 employees.
"Retrenchment is one of the options for the sustainability of our business," the company said in a statement.
Its 2016 annual report shows that its market share fell by 7 per cent in the six months to December 31. Sales dropped by 8 per cent after the government banned sale of alcohol during working hours.
Industry and Trade Minister Charles Mwijage, in an earlier interview with The EastAfrican, said that the government was looking to get more revenues from TBL, with plans to increase its production capacity.
TBL Group, a subsidiary of SABMiller, has 78 per cent of the formal beer market in Tanzania through TBL, and 73 per cent of the wines and spirits market through Tanzania Distilleries.
Mid last year, TBL Group announced plans to construct a $50 million malting plant in Iringa Region to cater for the increasing demand for malt at the Dar es Salaam and Mbeya Breweries.
TBL Group comprises three companies -- Tanzania Breweries Ltd, Tanzania Distilleries Ltd and Dar Brew Ltd.
"Our malting plant in Moshi has the capacity to produce 15,000 tonnes of malt, which is used to produce beer at the Arusha and Mwanza breweries.