By Daniel Tiruneh @ABN
BGI is the leading brewery in Ethiopia with a leading share of the domestic beer market. BGI services thousands of sales outlets all over the country, and deploys Promoters to visit and monitor these outlets regularly. Apposite worked with BGI to develop a Sales Outlet Management platform using its Connect product that allows its Promoters to record and submit all sales and service follow up data electronically. This paperless data collection is aggregated automatically, and provides real time insight and actionable analysis to management and operational departments.
BGI Ethiopia PLC, subsidiary of the Castel Group has recently introduced two new beer products in the market dubbed Doppel alcoholic beer and Senque malt, a non-alcoholic beer. Daniel Tiruneh presents a few questions to BGI Ethiopia Commercial PR Manager Gebreselassie Sefer
ABN: When did BGI Ethiopia begin operation in Ethiopia and what was the motive behind its presence in Ethiopia?
BGI International started its operation in Ethiopia in 1991 after acquiring the St. George beer brand from the Government of Ethiopia.
The company expanded its footprint to the Ethiopian Market to address the need of the category consumer by offering its diversified portfolios. By doing so, the company has also created a job opportunity to thousands of fellow Ethiopians.
ABN: Where are your export destinations?
BGI being an international company continued to expand its presence in the different part of the world. At present,we export to East Africa (Djibouti, South Sudan), Europe (France, Germany), North America (Virginia, Maryland, Dallas etc.), Australia, the Middle East and Israel, to mention a few.
ABN: How do you execute your marketing and promotional strategies?
BGI Marketing and Sales force work together in close collaborationto identify the business need in the Marketplace and accordingly craft relevant strategies that address the business gap. In addition, in-order to maintain our product competitiveness in the marketplace, our brewing experts ensure in maintaining the highest quality standards of our products by using quality ingredients supported by modern brewing technology.
ABN: Describe the information communication technology (ICT) being implemented in the company?
ICT is the backbone of our business in implementing steps from production to selling techniques to manpower support in a structured way.
ABN: How do you monitor and evaluate the professional capacity of your employees at different levels?
Key-Responsibility-Areas (KRA) are defined and shared to the respective employee and will be evaluated accordingly at a set timeline. Regular trainingsare also conducted to enhancethe employee productivity.
ABN: What are the contributions of the company to the socio-economic development, and beautification efforts being undertaken in the capital of Addis Ababa?
Addis Ababa being the capital, a great effort has been doneto support the city in different areas; developing park,support in cleaning the city and on different occasion securing own land and planting trees to protect the environment.
The recently opened ‘Entoto Park’ has positively altered the landscape of the city with its marvelous aesthetic as well as promotion of healthy living. It has become a culmination of household names coming together to change the livelihoods of those around the area for the better. BGI stepped up in constructing Sen’q shops, retail businesses that aim to change a towering legacy of women’s poverty. Drawing upon the love of motherhood, these shops opened to provide job security for women whose livelihoods depended on the collection of firewood from the forest. BGI intends to take this even further by expanding this project into upcoming mega-projects in Addis Ababa.
ABN: Tell us about your new beer products. Doppel and Sen’q malt, non-alcoholic beer.How is the Market? Why are you interested to come up with such products?
We have taken our time in preparing products that meet the highest quality standards, crafted within the latest technology. No resources have been spared in presenting a product brimming with excellence. To this end, in 2020 the company has introduced two brands Doppel and Sen’q to address the needs of the diverse consumers.
Doppel Brown Beeris the first Ethiopian Brown Beer with a golden color /shade. This makes it the eccentric and taste-rich product that it is.Doppel is a product that has entered the market with a firm flavor in hopes to leave consumers with a taste they will never forget. It is made for consumers who are looking for a change of pace in their beer preference, one of bold taste.Doppel Brown Beer is produced keeping in line with state-of-the-art technology and innovative brewing techniques from the finest of ingredients. This is to meet the aim of satisfying consumers to the fullest.Bold Taste acquired through the perfect balance of fine ingredients with the 5% Alcohol content.
Sen’q is setting the trend in the Malt industry by embedding Vanilla and Ethiopian coffee for a rich taste and high quality. From the usual standards of focusing on Malt-centered production, this product takes it a step further in giving the consumer an energy boost full of flavors.Sen’q Malt Drink is completely free from alcohol and suitable for those seeking a refreshing and nutritious taste to satisfy their thirst.The source of its complementary health benefits and nutrition come from the process of fortifying it with essential minerals and vitamins. It is a taste to behold as well as one to nourish the body.
ABN: Have you faced any challenges during your operation? If so, what are the challenges?
So far, the operation is going smoothly as planned and well received by the respective consumers.
ABN: It’s well known that BGI owns and manages the Castel Winery and Vineyard located in Zeway town. Tell us about the motive behind its establishment, its productions, employees, and other related issues?
In-order to put Ethiopia in the wine map, BGI Ethiopia has selectedZeway as its base due to its environment suitability and availability of sufficient water. The company has also brought wine experts from France to look over the winery. The modern farm is sited in 600 Hectare. The product portfolio includes: Acacia, Rift Valley and Prestige with 2 White, 2 Rose and 6 Red Wines. The winery has also opened huge employment opportunity for the locals and created an investment opportunity for Ethiopia.
ABN: What are the company’s key achievements?
BGI Ethiopia has been increasing itsbrewery footprintthrough the years. Currently, we have 5 different breweries located in Addis Ababa, Hawassa, Kombolcha, Raya and Welkite. Raya and Zebidar Breweries are the latest addition.Furthermore, Castel Winery, BGI’s sister company, located in Zeway, is brewingand distributing widerange of quality wine countrywide and beyond.
As a category leader, our Breweries and Winery have created employment opportunities for thousands of local/expat employees.
ABN: Tell us about your short and long-term plans?
BGI Ethiopia has short and long-term plans. Short term is to continue to train, equip and empower our employees to overcome the current health challenges in the marketplaceand to be able to serve the consumer with extra care.
In the long term is to put Ethiopia in the first place in the category of beer and wine in the African Map.
ABN: What are the major social responsibilities BGI has undertaken so far in Ethiopia?
BGI Ethiopia has been actively engaged in the ongoing CSR activities aimed at empowering employees, promote workplace safety, protect the environment, healthcare, education, art, sport, infrastructure, supporting disability and engagement with NGO. It will also continue to work closely with its stakeholders by timely addressing the challenges in the above sectors.