Diageos EABL backs Kenyas alcohol law

Diageo's EABL backs Kenya's alcohol law

Diageo's East African Breweries Ltd has backed new regulations on alcoholic drinks sales in Kenya, after helping the Government to draw up the new law.

Kenya's president last week signed the decree for a law that will legalise licensed production of the grain-based liquor chang'aa. It will also force all drinks companies to devote around a third of the space on product labels on the back of bottles to health warnings.

Some analysts have been quoted in Africa-based media as saying that the move could foster fresh, licensed competition for Diageo's East African Breweries (EABL) subsidiary in Kenya.

However, a Diageo spokesperson this week told just-drinks that the firm supported the Government. "Overall we are supportive of the Alcohol Beverages Control Bill in Kenya," he said.

"East African Breweries has been working with the Kenyan Government for over three years in developing the bill, which aims to address misuse of alcohol, in particular the production of unsafe alcohol," the spokesperson said. "The result is a good framework within which the Government and the industry can move forward."

Diageo's EABL unit has had previous close ties with the Government in Kenya, where the brewer sells Tusker lager and Guinness.

Both signed an agreement around six years ago to develop a low-cost beer brand, named Senator Keg, that could compete on price with illicit alcohol consumed widely across the country. Authorities initially slashed duty tax on the beer and subsequently waived it altogther.