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SAB working around the clock to get production back on line in wake of KZN floods

SAB chief executive Richard Rivett-Carnac yesterday admitted that supply of certain beer brands had been constrained in and around Durban, due to slow production. Picture: Bloomberg.

SAB chief executive Richard Rivett-Carnac yesterday admitted that supply of certain beer brands had been constrained in and around Durban, due to slow production. Picture: Bloomberg.

Published May 13, 2022

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SOUTH African Breweries (SAB) has committed to the beer market that it will bring its Prospecton brewery back to full production capacity within two months, in a bid to meet the high demand.

Production at SAB’s Prospecton plant came to a halt last month after the brewery was submerged in a metre deep of water during the devastating floods that hit KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

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SAB chief executive Richard Rivett-Carnac yesterday admitted that supply of certain beer brands had been constrained in and around Durban due to slow production.

Rivett-Carnac said they had to bring in the group’s other six breweries across the country to continue to plug the supply gap created by the temporary stoppage at Prospecton.

“Supply in the areas that are typically supplied by the Prospecton brewery experienced some delays,” he said.

“We needed time to get the allocation of stock and the logistics of that stock to the right areas. But we have managed to do that, I think, in a really good time.

“We are now seeing beer stock coming off the production lines in Prospecton, and we hope to see that ramp up in the short term.”

The country’s biggest beer maker estimated that repairs at Prospecton would cost about R700 million.

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SAB produces 400 million litres of product a year across its various beer brands such as Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Carling Black Label, and others.

Rivett-Carnac, however, said the SAB was working around the clock to ramp up production from the current levels of 30 percent back to normality.

“We have already seen beer coming off the production line. The turnaround from when the flood hit was good, given that the entire brewery was under 1-metre of water,” he said.

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“We are hoping that in four to six weeks, the brewery will be back to 100 percent. But there are a lot of unknowns during that time and we need to be very aware of the quality of beer that is coming from that brewery.

“We won’t comment on the specifics on our bottom line. Obviously we had to stop production in Prospecton. Ultimately, it will have an impact on our business. That’s clear.”

Chief executive of SAB’s parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) Michel Doukeris reiterated their investment commitment to South Africa.

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Doukeris said SAB would be creating 25 000 jobs in KZN and a further 15 000 in the Eastern Cape breweries.

“We see enormous opportunity in Africa,” Doukeris said. “South Africa fits in well with our growth strategy. There are massive opportunities across Africa.”

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