"The big guys started noticing there was a new sheriff in town," says Tony Agah, plant manager at AB InBev’s recently opened US$250 million brewery in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.," he told AFP.
Africa's largest brewery outside of South Africa is now challenging market leader Heineken, which operates through its local subsidiary Nigerian Breweries (NB) 11 breweries across the country. Main brands in a portfolio of about 20 brands include Gulder, Star and top-of-the-range Heineken.
"We're very comfortable in any battle," says NB marketing director Emmanuel Oriakhi. "They're welcome and it makes the market interesting," he is adding with a smile and the confidence of having around 60 percent of the market share.
AB InBev competes with Trophy and Hero Lager in the consumer segment and on the high-end side with Budweiser, which was recently launched in the country (inside.beer, 23.11.2017).
The Nigerian beer market is still largely untapped. Nigerians consume on average about 9 liters of beer per year compared to 57 liters in South Africa. The West-African country is the most populous on the continent with about 190 million aged under 30 — and the population expected to grow to 410 million by 2050.
Nigeria is not the only African market where the fight between AB InBev and its rival Heineken has intensified. A similar situation is in the East-African country of Mozambique where AB InBev has laid the foundation stone to a new $180 million brewery in the same district, where Heineken started building a new $100 million brewery exactly one year before (inside.beer, 10.12.2018).