Bralirwa 'moving like express train'
Birra Dreher closes Popoli
Brewery in Rwanda climbs uphill fast
HEINEKEN INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE NO. 35
Now that it looks as if the African state of
Rwanda has moved back into calmer times,
this is having a positive effect on Heineken's
operating company Bralirwa: growth over
the past six months is cause for great
At the time of the disturbances
Bralirwa's future looked much less
rosy, with sales lagging far behind
the level of previous years. Now that
calm has returned to Rwanda and
since excise duties on beer have also
been reduced, Bralirwa is reaping the
benefits. The demand for beer has
picked up so strongly that at the
moment there is even a (modest)
But Bralirwa is looking beyond
the short term and is drawing up
plans to build an even stronger basic
position in the Rwandan market: the
introduction of Amstel and Heine-
ken, plus further expansion of its pre
sent brands Primus and Miitzig.
longer than that for Primus. And
Miitzig is a beer which is doing well
in Rwanda, despite commanding a
20% higher price than Primus.
Particularly the 72 cl bottle is popu
lar with consumers who like to share
a bottle with friends.
Primus has built up a good reputa
tion in Rwanda over the years. But at
the same time consumer tastes have
changed. Primus is now regarded as
a light beer. Sales are still good, but
The Bralirwa brewery will shortly
get two new storage tanks, making
the small capacity shortfall a thing of
there are also ideas to extend the
Primus brand by adding a new pils-
ener beer which will be marketed in a
bottle with a label. The logo of the
existing Primus beer is burnt into the
The Rwandan beer market cur
rently consists of three segments:
mainstream (Primus), premium
(Miitzig) and speciality (Guinness).
As from 1st January two brands will
be joining them: Heineken and
Amstel. Heineken beer is brewed in
Holland and is highly appreciated as
an imported beer. Slightly lower in
price, but still super-premium, is
Amstel which is brewed in the neigh
bouring state of Burundi. In return
for this, Bralirwa will be brewing
Miitzig for Burundi.
Introducing a new brand of beer is
not as easy in Rwanda as in other
countries. There is no television, so
it's not possible to communicate via
TV spots. With the aid of posters,
calendars and glasses, Bralirwa is
seeking to bring Heineken and
Amstel to the consumer's attention.
Bralirwa will also be pioneering bill
board advertising, so far unknown in
Rwanda. Bralirwa expects a great
deal of success from this form of
Bralirwa, headed for many years
by general manager Max Boreel, has
gone through tough times. But the
well motivated personnel have
proved that though the uphill climb
was steep, it was not impossible.
The Bralirwa brewery in Rwan
da's capital of Kigali has an output of
90,000 hectolitres a month. In the
high season (July and August) that's
not enough to meet the big demand.
Over the past summer the brewery
has been producing as much as
95,000 hectolitres a month.
The high season in Rwanda has
little to do with the climate. A much
bigger contribution to the strongly
increased demand is made by the fact
that the coffee harvest is brought in
during these months - so that people
then have more to spend.
The minor capacity problems
which Bralirwa was facing will
shortly be a thing of the past after the
installation of two new storage tanks.
These new tanks will mainly be used
in the brewing of Miitzig, since the
storage process for Miitzig lasts
Max Boreel (left),
together with per
Birra Dreher recently discontinued production at its brewery in
Popoli. The closure of this brewery forms part of a restructuring of pro
duction facilities in Italy.
Faced by a static beer market, Birra Dreher decided on a further
streamlining of its production so as to boost its competitive strenght in
the Italian market. The restructuring programme started three years
The Popoli brewery has been part of the Dreher group since 1980.
Birra Dreher's production now takes place in the Pedavena and Aosta
units which brew beer for Northern Italy. Production for the south of
the country is handled by the breweries in Massafra and Messina. Birra
Dreher also has a brewery in Cagliari (on the island of Sardinia).