Diageo will open a spirits-focused outlet in Ethiopias capital early next year

Diageo will open a spirits-focused outlet in Ethiopia's capital early next year

Diageo has hailed the successful transition of its Meta Abo beer purchase in Ethiopia, and is looking to piggyback some of its international spirits brands on its brewing footprint in the country.

In early-2012, Diageo acquired Meta Abo from the Ethiopian authorities for US$225m. The transaction saw the UK-headquartered company become the second largest brewer in the country, behind Castel's beer division, Brasseries & Glacieres Internationales.

Speaking at Diageo's investor conference in London today (15 October), Ekwunife Okoli, MD of Diageo's Africa Regional Markets division, highlighted the success of Meta Abo since Diageo took control. “This (Ethiopia's beer market) is a strong opportunity and we feel really proud that we have entered this opportunity early on,” he said. “It's early days, but year one was very good and year two is going well.”

Okoli detailed figures that forecast a 10.6% rise in beer sales in Ethiopia between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2024.

The Meta Abo acquisition is growing in line with company expectations, Okoli noted.

Diageo intends to leverage its beer infrastructure in the country, Okoli added, to help drive its spirits portfolio. He confirmed that the firm plans to open a spirits-dedicated retail outlet in Addis Ababa early next year.

A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks: "As part of our focus on spirits transformation in Africa, we are looking to establish a 'premium spirits experience', the first of which is planned for Addis Ababa.

"It will allow consumers, customers and bartenders to learn about ... the Diageo spirits portfolio in more detail. Plans are still underway, but we hope to launch the concept in the second half of this fiscal, when more details will become available.”

UPDATED 1953 BST, 15/10. Clarifying that the Addis Ababa store will focus on Diageo's broader spirits portfolio rather than just Johnnie Walker, as claimed by Okoli.