Beer in Africa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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. An alternative to glass-bottle beers is local beer sold in tetra-pak style paper cartons.

South Africa consumes the most beer of any African country, with an average of 60 litres of beer consumed per person annually.[1]

Indigenous beers[edit]

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 ginger beers and honey beers.

United National Breweries, amongst others, produces Johannesburg beer and the popular, if stigmatized, Chibuku beer is popular throughout Southern African countries.

In South Africa and Botswana, sorghum malt is used as an important ingredient. Elsewhere, maize is the primary ingredient and the beer is more commonly known as opaque beer.

Central Africa[edit]


The most popular brands are Castel and 33 Export, and in larger cities Beaufort, Beaufort Lite, Mützig Lager, Guinness, Guinness Foreign Extra 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)[edit]

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.

Congo (DRC)[edit]

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


Régab is the most widely distributed domestically brewed beer in Gabon.

A bottle of Régab

Eastern Africa[edit]


(Also see Beer in Ethiopia)

Beer has been widely consumed in Ethiopia for a while and as a result the country enjoys a variety of beer brands. Historically the most popular of these brands is St. George Beer (named after the country's patron saint) which is the country's oldest brewery, established in 1922. More recently the introduction of foreign beer brands like Heineken has created a lot of competition in the market, increasing investment in the farming sector. This influx of capital has led to the country to being more self-sufficient in such area as Malt production.[2] Many traditional Ethiopian brands including Meta, Harar, and Bedele were acquired by Heineken's parent company and re-branded.

St. George Beer

Some of the best Ethiopian brands include:

  • Meta (ሜታ ቢራ)
  • Bedele (በደሌ ቢራ)
  • Dashen (ዳሽን ቢራ)
  • Habesha (ሐበሻ ቢራ)
  • Harar (ሐረር ቢራ)
  • Walia Beer (ዋልያ ቢራ)
  • Raya Beer (ራያ ቢራ)
  • St. George Beer (ቅዱስ ጊዮርጊስ ቢራ)


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


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, when East African Breweries waged a marketing war against Castle Breweries, a subsidiary of international brewing giant SABMiller. In this media campaign, Castle, which had constructed a multimillion-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 divided 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.


Beer (known as pombe in Swahili) is an integral part of Tanzanian society and local brands hold a strong sense of national pride and economic value. Tanzania is the sixth-largest per-capita consumer of beer in Africa.[3] Over 90% of beer consumption is of homemade-style brews, however the most recognizable bottled brands include:[4]

A bottle of Kilimanjaro beer
  • Kilimanjaro Premium Lager (4.5%)
  • Serengeti Premium Lager (5.5%)
  • Ndovu Premium Malt (4.8%)
  • Uhuru Peak Lager (5.8%)
  • safari lager
  • Eagle
  • Chibuku


Rwanda has Primus Beer. Urwagwa is a beer made from fermented banana juice and sorghum flour.[5]


A southern Uganda beer is Nile Special, produced in and distributed from Jinja, the source of the Nile at Lake Victoria. Others are Club, Bell Lager, Eagle (the local beer made using sorghum), Guinness and Tusker.

Northern Africa[edit]


The leading local brand is called Stella (not to be confused with the Belgian Stella Artois). Other brands on the market include Meister, Luxor and Sakara, and the non-alcoholic Birell and Desperados.



A number of breweries or microbreweries operate in Tunisia. The largest is Celtia(in French), located in Tunis.

Southern Africa[edit]

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. St Louis Lager and St Louis Export have been awarded a Silver Quality Award at the coveted World Quality Selections (2012), organized by Monde Selection.[6]

Chibuku Shake Shake, so-called by the need to shake the carton before drinking it, is a commercial umqombothi 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. Standard practice is to slurp any remaining sediment at the bottom of the container.


Three Horses beer is the national beer in Madagascar. It is brewed by Brasserie Star. It is colloquially called "THB" (In French te-ash-be).


Malawi has its own Carlsberg brewery. Officially opened on 14 December 1968, Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited (CMBL) was the first Carlsberg brewery outside Denmark. Its brands include: Green, a stout lager; Elephant, a strong lager; and Kuche Kuche, Malawi's traditional beer (Mowa Wathu Wathu).


Phoenix Beverages (formerly Mauritius Breweries) produce a local lager called Phoenix Beer; one premium lager known as Gister (4.8%); two strong lagers - Phoenix Special Brew (6.5%) and Blue Marlin (6.0%); and a pale lager called Stella Pils. They are also licensed to brew Guinness (of the Foreign Extra Stout variety) and Warsteiner since 2003 (As of  2015, Warsteiner is no longer produced). They also brew Three Horses beer for export to Madagascar under licence.

Recently, Universal Breweries Ltd has begun operating. They produce a local lager-style beer called Black Eagle and a strong lager called Black Eagle Xtra (7.0%).


Mozambique produces two of the most-awarded beers in Africa: Laurentina Clara, a pale lager, and Laurentina 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.


Namibia Breweries,the country's largest brewery offers mainly lagers and a lager Draught (Hansa) on tap that is popularly served in every Restaurant. Other popular bottled beers are Tafel Lager, Windhoek Lager and Windhoek light. Windhoek is the country's capital. Being part of one of the country's largest conglomerate named Olthaver & List (the guys that met to brew the beer way back then), the company's division O&L Leisure also has a hotel in the coastal town of Swakopmund called the Strand Hotel. The hotel boasts its own brewery with frequent changes to the variety of their craft beer.

The Hotel and Restaurant Roof of Africa is the first, privately owned Restaurant in Namibia to start brewing its own beer, after installing a brand new brewery imported from Europe. The house brew will mainly be Draught and Pilsner, with four other beer types will be brewed throughout 2018 and onward. The beers will be available middle of March 2018.

South Africa[edit]

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.


Zambia's main beer is Mosi Lager made by Zambian Breweries, named after the indigenous name for Victoria Falls (Mosi Oa Tunya). The products of South African Breweries' Castle are also found in most places in Zambia.


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

Western Africa[edit]


La Béninoise is the national beer of Benin. Peace Corps volunteers tend to favor it due to its relatively low cost, but many volunteers prefer Castel or the Togolese beer, Awooyo. Locally brewed millet beer, known as tchouk, is popular in the northern regions. When beer fails there is Sodabe, boxed wine, and plastic sachets of whiskey.

Burkina Faso[edit]

The most common beers in Burkina Faso are Brakina and So.B.Bra. Both beers are produced by the Castel Group. In 2017 the first craft brewery; Brasserie Artisanale De Ouagadougou started to sell IPA, porter and Ales. Some with locally grown sorghum. The second microbrewery opened later on in 2017 and sells imported Belgian beers along with crafted Belgian styled beers. There is also a small influx of beers from the region in Ouagadougou, specially from Togo and Ghana.

Cape Verde[edit]

In Cape Verde the main brand is the national Strela beer and the Portuguese Super Bock import.


A JulBrew coaster

Gambia has Julbrew, brewed by Banjul Breweries Ltd.


Ghana's most famous brands are Star beer and Club Premium Lager.


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


Club beer is domestically brewed by Monrovia Breweries.


Niger has Biere Niger, Flag in small bottles, and Grand Flag in large bottles.


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.

Intafact Beverages Limited with a single brewery in Onitsha brews Hero Lager, Castle Milk Stout, and non-alcoholic beverages such as Grand Malt and Beta Malt.

International Breweries plc in Ilesa brew Trophy Lager, Trophy Black and BETAMALT.

Sierra Leone[edit]

Star Beer is the most widely distributed domestically brewed beer by Sierra Leone Brewery Limited.


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SABMiller About us". Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  2. ^ Sisay Gessesse, Andualem (9 August 2017). "Ethiopia to end malt import boosting local production". News Business Ethiopia.
  3. ^ Kiishweko, Orton (13 August 2012). "Dar Is Africa's 6th Biggest Beer Market". Retrieved 7 January 2016 – via AllAfrica.
  4. ^ "United Republic of Tanzania - Beer" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2003. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  5. ^ Adekunle, Julius (2007). Culture and Customs of Rwanda. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-33177-4.
  6. ^ Botswana's St Louis Brands Scoop An International Award,, wednesdey, 16 May 2012

External links[edit]