Brewer SABMiller targets Africa to up its downing of beer

The global beer market is expected to grow by 2 per cent this year

The brewer SABMiller has pinned its hopes on Africans drinking more alcohol, after targeting more than 10 per cent growth across the continent over the next few years.

The company is best known for selling Grolsch and Peroni in Europe but sees the “biggest growth opportunities” in Africa, where it wants to lure more middle-class drinkers.

“Africans drink nine litres of beer per head per year, compared with a global average of 45,” Mark Bowman, the head of SABMiller Africa, said. “So as Africa develops and levels of disposable income increase we expect the rate of beer consumption to grow significantly.” As well as targeting middle-class drinkers, the company  is developing cheaper products such as Chibuku Super and Impala, a beer made from cassava. “The informal market continues to dwarf the formal in Africa,” Mr Bowman said. “While homemade or illicit alcohol poses a potential health risk, it is considerably cheaper.”

According to recent figures, the global beer market is expected to grow by 2 per cent this year as demand from Chinese customers bounces back.

The sector expanded by less than 1 per cent last year, according to market specialist Plato Logic, with sales sluggish in four of the five largest beer markets, which account for more than 50 per cent of all beer drunk globally.

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Of the five, consumption in China was flat and it fell in Russia, which banned sales of beer at roadside stalls and kiosks at the start of 2013. The United States and Germany registered low growth, while consumption in Brazil increased because of the World Cup.