- Carling Black Label leads the Pack at KBL
- Castle Lite and St. Louis Lager follow in most sales volumes
- Traditional African Beer (Chibuku) category grew by 6.3%
- Flying Fish ahead in the Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages category
In 2021, Kgalagadi Breweries (Pty) Ltd (KBL) was once again severely impacted by mandated bans on the sale of alcohol.
The first ban of the year was instated from 4 January and ended on 28 February 2021. It was followed by a second lengthy ban from 28 June to 6 September 2021. According to Sechaba Holdings Limited, which owns 49.90 percent of KBL, the maker of clear beer was unable to trade for a total of 126 days of the year, as compared to 96 days in 2020. The group says KBL performance and growth in 2021 was further impacted by other restrictions on the sale of alcohol, chief among them being the restriction of unlicensed individual customers from purchasing alcohol directly from reseller outlets (or wholesalers) and the prohibition of events.
However, unlike the previous year, Sechaba says KBL performance improved as total volumes grew 4.7 percent versus 2020, largely due to improved efficiencies around availability of stock. This performance still fell significantly short versus 2019 performance – with a volume decline of 25.9 percent – due to zero recorded volumes in periods of no trade, Sechaba says in its 2021 annual report. “The company once more showed a great resilience and agility to execute initiatives and deliver sales volumes in a highly regulated and challenging market, thus resulting in improved volumes,”
Sechaba’s annual report shows that the clear beer category grew 6.1 percent versus 2020 but declined -4.7 percent versus budget, despite the longer periods of no alcohol sales in 2021. “Growth in the clear beer category in 2021 can be attributed to improved stock availability and favourable trading regulations, as compared to 2020,” Sechaba says. It notes that Carling Black Label continues to be the largest contributor in the core category and clear beer volumes, followed by Castle Lite and St Louis Lager. The three brands had an overall volume growth of 5.1 percent versus 2019, with Black Label in the lead with 10.3 percent. Premium brand, Corona, remains the fastest growing brand in KBL, with an increase of 236.6 percent and 242.3 percent versus 2020 and 2019, respectively..
The reports says KBL recorded one of the highest clear beer volume sales in its history in March 2021 – the first official trading month of the year. According to Sechaba, this performance was a clear indication that a strong recovery was slated for the year, supported by the double-digit volume growth in the subsequent trading months. However, the volume growth trajectory was hampered by the second and longest ban of the year in Q3 and further by a slow recovery in Q4, following the lifting of restrictions. Despite the challenges, Sechaba says overall volume performance in the clear beer category in 2021 versus 2020 resulted in growth but was not enough to match or surpass 2019 performance.
Despite being more negatively affected by trade restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than other beer categories, during the year in question, the Traditional African Beer (TAB) category grew by 6.3 percent versus previous year and declined by -4.8 percent versus budget. Sechaba explains that the growth in the TAB category came about as a result of increased trading days and hours, as opposed to the previous year – six trading days as opposed to three trading days in 2020. TAB category positive performance occurred in Q4, with a volume growth of 13.0 percent reported versus a decline of -5.4 percent from Q1 to Q3. “TAB recovery can additionally be attributed to improved efficiencies within the business,” Sechaba says.
Chibuku Beer Powder continued to grow versus 2019 and 2020, at 31.0 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively due to effective pricing strategy and improved distribution. However, Sechaba says increased contribution of the Beer Powder is also a result of a market consumer shift towards the pack and away from the 2L Chibuku pack, which continues to decline in volumes. “Overall TAB continues to maintain an important and relevant contribution to the overall KBL business,” says the report. The overall contribution of the Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages (FABs) category increased in 2021, with a growth of 19.1 percent versus 2020 and decline of -12.2 percent versus budget, a significant performance when compared to that of the total beer category (clear beer and TAB combined) at 7.0 percent and -5.2 percent versus 2020 and budget, respectively.
Category leader, Flying Fish, contributed to the market share growth and contribution of the FABs category, reporting 165.1 percent and 238.8 percent versus prior year and 2019, respectively. Sechaba says the three-digit growth is attributed to a number of factors, namely a robust marketing strategy, and improved availably and distribution of stock. “Redd’s Vodka Lemon also continues to maintain a strong relevance and space within the FABs category, despite the decline in performance,” the report says.