Is local barley not good enough?
Namibia Breweries Limited late last year introduced a new beer brand, King Lager, brewed solely from local barley.
The need for a new beer brand to accommodate the locally-grown barley led the Economist to seek Nambrew’s rationale behind the introduction of King Lager and its future plans for the beverage. The Breweries was also asked to explain why a new trade mark was necessary to process the homegrown barley into King Lager. Responding to the matter, O&L spokesperson Roux-Che Locke explained that King Lager was the first beer to be brewed using only locally grown barley. “We are proud of the fact that one of the key ingredients of King Lager and what makes King Lager stand apart from its peers is that it is the first commercially available beer in Namibia to be brewed with homegrown Namibian barley.”
Explained Locke further, “King Lager is exclusively brewed with and contains high quality barley grown right here in Namibia following extensive trials over a 3 year period.” Remarkably, it would seem Namibia Breweries chose not to use local barley for the production of its other beer brands in a roundabout way. Responding to the issue, Locke said, “In terms of the current local barley production, we have only enough for King Lager at present and the near foreseeable future. However, as soon as more local barley volumes are produced which are enough to replace most of our import volumes, only then will we extend the local barley production to the rest of our beer portfolio.” Added Locke, “we have always tried to find ways to add value and create employment for our people. One of the avenues to create jobs was to pioneer the cultivation of barley in Namibia. Given the success of the trials to grow barley for commercial use and having proved that barley could be grown in Namibia, it was only fitting that Namibia Breweries created a new premium quality beer that is brewed with homegrown Namibian barley. To this end, King Lager was born. Therefore, King Lager is here to stay.” Upon a request from the Economist for information to determine how big the barley harvest was and how many litres of King Lager Namibia Breweries was able to produce, Namibia Breweries Limited remained mum. The barley used to produce King Lager is harvested at Shadikongoro. Currently barley is also planted at Otavifontein. Namibia Breweries currently imports 40,000 tons of malted barley per annum, mainly from Europe. The local brewer said it aims to harvest at least 12,000 hectares of barley per annum over the next ten years which is expected to grow through a partnership recently signed with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, as well as AgriBusDev, to grow more barley at the green schemes locally.