Home Business Embu brewer closes shop : The Standard

Embu brewer closes shop : The Standard

by kenya-tribune
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Mountain Slopes Commercial Services Managing Director Samuel Muriuki holding a bottle of King Master special opaque beer. (Joseph Muchiri, Standard)

The largest beer manufacturer in Embu County has stopped operations permanently in what the management attributes to declining sales, arising from interference by State agencies.

Mountain Slopes Commercial Services, which produced Kingmaster Opaque Special Beer for over a decade, announced to employees and the public that it would cease operations starting this month and shift focus to maize meal and animals feeds production.
“The many years, we have been fought, we lost the market. Even when we bounced back, we did not find a vibrant business like before. We have decided to close it down,” said the company’s Managing Director Samuel Muriuki.
“The region is a major producer of maize. We decided to focus on adding value to what is available. This will shield our employees from losing jobs. We don’t expect similar frustrations from the Government.”
He said the plant is now up for leasing to investors in the manufacturing sector.
Until 2015, the firm was doing well for years but suffered a blow after it was closed down intermittently due to failure to obtain one permit from the Government.
The brewery started operations in Nairobi County over a decade ago, and in its heydays, it used to employ over 200 people to distribute the brew to Nairobi and the Mt Kenya region.
It later relocated to Embu, which was close to the source of raw materials and also to create jobs in the countryside.
Invested heavily
Mr Muriuki said recently that the factory, which has a capacity of producing 5,000 bottles of beer hourly, used to employ 60 people.
“Owing to frequent closures, our market share had shrunk necessitating downsizing of employees from a peak of 200 to just 60,” he said. Mr Muriuki said the firm was targeted just when it had invested heavily to expand production and automate operations in a bid to manufacture quality opaque beer.
“We had even purchased expensive equipment, including a Sh7.5 million bottling machine from China,” he said.
The company had been in and out of court as it tried to compel the State to allow it to resume operations.
It had obtained approvals from State agencies, including the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Health Ministry. It only lacked a county liquor licence which it could not get from the Embu County Government.
Police had on several occasions closed down the factory even when the brewer had obtained orders barring State organs from interfering with the operations of the company.
Mr Muriuki told the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation led by the National President Richard Ngatia that toured Embu County last week to lobby the State to support businesses and protect them from “witch-hunt.”   

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Mountain Slopes Commercial ServicesBeerBreweryKingmaster Opaque Special Beer

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