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JAMAICA’S RED STRIPE BEER ENTERING AFRICA ON A REGGAE BEAT!

BY TERRON DEWAR—

 Red Stripe entering Africa on a reggae beat—

RED Stripe plans to use reggae’s influence in Africa to catapult the brand’s entrance into Ethiopia and Ghana, said Cedric Blair.

The managing director of the local brewery reckons that the music can create an invaluable link between Brand Jamaica and Red Stripe beer.

“We are looking to make a big entrance in Africa, particularly, Ethiopia and Ghana, where the influence of reggae is big,” Red Stripe’s, Managing Director, told the Observer.

Tapping into new export markets is a part of the beer company’s aggressive strategy to quadruple its export “in the next four years,” said Richard Byles, who is chairman of the Diageo-owned company.

Launching in Africa will see Red Stripe leveraging “the use of Diageo’s [existing] distribution chains and third- party agreements,” Blair told Business Observer.

Diageo currently owns 14 breweries across the African continent and has a robust distribution network of wholly-owned subsidiaries and distributor agreements spanning well over 30 African countries, according to the company’s website.

Currently, Red Stripe exports about 5-million crates annually, with Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US being its strongest markets.

The beer company, in its 2014 annual report, projected that it will hit an export target of “20 million actual cases of Red Stripe product” by the 2017 financial year.

Brazil, which the research shows is the world’s fastest- growing beer market, is also a big target on the brewer’s export agenda, said Blair.

While Red Stripe is currently sold in the South American country, Blair plans to strengthen existing distribution agreements and create new ones that will facilitate deeper market penetration.

The projection to quadruple exports in four years “is definitely possible”, said Shane Healy, head of supply at Red Stripe.

In addition to improvements made to the plant, an evaluation of Diageo’s 100 factories worldwide resulted in the Red Stripe plant located on Spanish Town Road being dubbed “the most productive”.

The factory’s high level of productivity, and the efficiency gains that the recent upgrades to the plant will bring, he reckons, will be the winning combination in meeting the company’s export-led target.

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