Beer in Africa

Beer in Africa

Beer in Africa, especially lager, is produced commercially in most African countries, and varieties of beer are also made by indigenous tribes. Beer is served in a range of locales, from neighbourhood shebeens to upscale bars. Many countries have standardized beer bottle sizes, which are cleaned and re-used, and so when buying beer at a store often people must pay a deposit on the bottle as well as the price of the beer. South Africa consumes the most beer of any African country, with an average of 59.2 litres of beer consumed per person annually.[citation needed]


Indigenous beers

The brewing of traditional beer is a common practice among Africans in rural areas. Varieties and types of beer depend on local customs and resources. Among various beers brewed locally are honey beers and ginger beers.

A typical alternative to glass-bottle beers is local beer sold in tetra-pak style paper cartons. United National Breweries amongst others, produces Johannesburg beer, and the popular, if stigmatized, Chibuku beer is popular throughout Southern African countries partly owned and managed by subsidiary companies of SABMiller PLC operating in Botswana,Zambia,Malawi and Zimbabwe. In South Africa and Botswana, sorghum malt is used as an important ingredient whereas elsewhere less to no sorghum is used (maily maize) and the beer is more commonly known as opaque beer

Southern Africa

Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, a subsidiary of SAB Miller, produces St Louis. The traditional St Louis Special Light has a 3.5% v/v alcohol content. Due to the popularity of the St Louis brand, KBL has recently introduced an alcohol free St Louis 24 at 0% v/v and St Louis Premium Export lager 4.5% v/v.

Of South African beers, Castle Lager is the most famous, although South Africa produces a variety of brands which are exported. South African Breweries became the world's second-largest beer producer after merging with Miller Breweries of the US.

Three Horses beer is the national beer in Madagascar. It is brewed by Brasserie Star.

Malawi has its own Carlsberg brewery. Officially opened on 14 December 1968 , Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited (CMBL) was the first Carlsberg brewery outside Denmark. This brews beers such as "Green" - standard larger, a stout, Elephant - a strong larger and Kuche Kuche Malawi's own beer (Mowa Wathu Wathu).

Mauritius Breweries produce a local lager called Phoenix Beer and a strong lager. Blue Marlin. They are also licensed to brew Guinness (of the Foreign Extra Stout variety) and Warsteiner since 2003. They also brew beer destined for Madagascar (Three Horses) under licence. Recently, Universal Breweries Ltd has begun operating. They produce a local lager style beer called Black Eagle.

Mozambique produces two of the most awarded beers in Africa: Laurentina Clara, a pale lager, and Preta, a dark lager. Manica is a pale lager, and 2M (pronounced dosh-em), produced by the same brewery (CdM), is also popular. Laurentina is now exported to South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Windhoek Lager, named for the country's capital, is the largest brewer in Namibia. The country, a former German colony, has a long history of brewing and makes pale lagers.

Zambia's main beer is Mosi Lager, named for the indigenous name for Victoria Falls (Mosi Oa Tunya). South African Breweries' Castle is also found most places in Zambia.

Zambezi is Zimbabwe's national beer, brewed by National Breweries on Manchester Road, Harare. It is made from malt, maize, hops and water, and is 4.7% abv. Other major beers include Bohlingers, Lion, Eagle and South African Breweries' Carling Black Label and Castle.

Chibuku Shake Shake, so called by the need to shake the carton before drinking it, is brewed by Chibuku, and remains a popular beer in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. Chibuku Shake Shake is made from a mix of sorghum and maize. In Zimbabwe it is known as "scud". It is sold in paper cartons or brown plastic containers with a wide blue lid. It is thought to be a drink for lower class people. This thick brown millet beer costs less than a dollar and it is shaken vigorously before drinking it because of its thick Layer of sediment collected on the bottom of the carton. It has a powerful yeast flavor that is offset by a lemony tang, surprising given the color. When the liquid has been consumed and you reach the bottom of the carton, standard practice is to slurp up the pile of sludge that remains.

Eastern Africa

A bottle of Kilimanjaro beer

Safari Lager, Kilimanjaro Lager and Serengeti Lager are predominant in Tanzania. Tanzabeer is a lager-like beer local to Tanzania which has now been introduced to the United Kingdom via Mkaka & Co in West London.

Golden Star, brewed by the Golden Star Brewery, is the unique beer in Eritrea after the closing of Asmara Brewery (ex Menotti) which has been brewing beer since the colonial era.

Rwanda has Primus Beer; Urwagwa, made from fermented banana juice and sorghum flour.[1]

Uganda has Club, Nile Special, Bell Lager, Eagle the local beer made using sorghum, as well as Guinness and Tusker.


Tusker, brewed by the Kenya Breweries Limited, is the most popular beer in Kenya. Popularly known as "Keroro" beer, Tusker is a source of Kenyan pride highlighted in the late 1990s, where East African Breweries played the patriotic card to win a marketing war against Castle Breweries, a subsidiary of international brewing giant SABMiller. In the nasty media campaign that followed Castle, which had constructed a multi-million dollar brewery in the industrial town of Thika, was depicted as foreign and uncommitted to Kenya. The prolonged marketing wars came to an end in 2002, when the two brewers reached a settlement in which they carved out the beer market in East Africa among themselves. Castle agreed to exit Kenya, and EABL decided to leave the Tanzanian market to the SABMiller subsidiary.

Western Africa


La Béninoise is the national beer of Benin. Flag and Castel are also widely available. Locally brewed millet beer, known as tchouk, is popular in the northern regions.

Cape Verde

In Cape Verde the main brand is the Strela beer.


A JulBrew Coaster

Gambia has Julbrew. Brewed by Banjul Breweries Ltd.


Ghana's most famous brand is Star beer.


Guiluxe, a favorite of expatriate Peace Corps Volunteers, is the only known locally brewed beer in Guinea.


Niger has Biere Niger.


Nigeria produces a version of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout that uses sorghum. A ban on imports of barley malt imposed in 1990 forced brewers to find ways to produce beer with locally available sorghum and maize. The Nigerian version is distinct from other Guinness FES's found around the world.

Nigerian Breweries brews under license Star, Gulder, Heineken, Tiger Bock, Kronenbourg and several local beer brands, both ale and stout types. Mopa Breweries, Ltd. produces the popular One Lager.


Eku Bavaria and Awooyo are two brands in Togo. Flag and Castel are also widely available.

Central Africa

Cameroon: The most popular beers are Castel and 33 Export, and in larger cities Beaufort, Beaufort Lite, Mutzig, Guinness, Guinness Milk Stout, and Guinness Smooth can be found. Local brews include palm wine in the southern part of the country and millet beer called 'bil-bil' in the north.

Congo (Brazzaville): Ngok is a popular beer only available in Congo, which makes it a popular choice to sneak across the border to DRC. Its logo is a crocodile.

Most beers in Congo (DRC) are brewed by Heineken with the most popular being Primus.


The leading local brand is called Stella (not to be confused with the Belgian Stella Artois). Available in original, export, and premium varieties. Other brands on the market include Meister , Luxor and Sakara, and the non-alcoholic "Birell" and "Kaliber".


Urwagwa is a beer made from fermented banana juice and sorghum flour.[2]


A southern Uganda beer is the Nile Special, produced in and distributed from Jinja, the source of the Nile at Lake Victoria.

See also

  • Beer and breweries by region


External links

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