Connect with us

Business News

From making Jikokoa to building Kenya’s biggest own-brewery



From making Jikokoa to building Kenya’s biggest own-brewery

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Eoin Flinn is a jack of all trades. He is the epitome of hard work pays.  

Flinn first came to Kenya in 2012, where his entrepreneurial journey began.

He was one of the founding partners of Burn International Limited, which makes the popular Jikokoa, which is environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

“I originally came with a company called Burn Manufacturing, making a product called Jikokoa, and we started a factory in Ruiru making these jikos, and then in 2016,” the Irish tells Capital Business.

Having tried numerous trades, he ventured into the brewery industry when he launched a brewery company.

The 254 Brewing Co has been a long one for Flynn, whose incorporation took place in February 2018.

It was not until 2020 that the company received a license from the government to operate.

He says he started the company since he has always motivated by job creation.

“So, we launched 254 Brewing Co in February 2020. Unfortunate timing for us because three weeks after we launched, of course, we had a Covid pandemic and all of the bars were closed for the next six months, but that’s how we came into the market,” he explains.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The firm brewery is located at the lush Kikuyu in Kiambu County.

Why he settled for the area was because it offered a cool environment with minimal hustle and bustle of Nairobi Town.

They source barley, a key primary ingredient for making beer, from Germany and France.

Previously, they were sourced from countries like Ukraine and Russia that have been impacted by war.

“We will hope to move that to local (Kenya) malt in a couple of years. We need to invest around another $1, million to set up a malting operation, because unfortunately in Kenya we have very good barley but no melting,” he says.

However, he laments the high taxes on beer that are about 40 times higher than in America and Germany, where they pay like about Sh3 shillings per liter. In Kenya, this is Sh142.

“And the even stranger thing is that we tax beer at a much higher rate than spirits per unit of alcohol, about 3 1/2 times more tax on beer. So of course, that make the beer business, very difficult area to survive it.”

He also adds that the brewery industry is controlled by a few firms, discouraging competition.

“You know, a country that size in Europe would have two or 3000 breweries. So that’s just the history that we have in Kenya with one company for the last 100 years doing all the beer for the country.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

With a production capacity of 20,000 liters per month, the beers are sold mostly in Nairobi (90 percent) and Watamu (Kilifi).

They also ship to neighboring Rwanda with the goal of supplying the entire region.

So far, he has invested over Sh200 million ($2 million) into the business for buying equipments, among others.

“But half a million of that is just tax taxes. Yeah, yeah. Because in Kenya, when you make beer, you pay tax much long before you make any profits. You, you, you pay excise duty on everything that you produce.”

Nonetheless, he says that competition is growing in the segment as more breweries come up.

“More small independent Brewers coming into the market. In fact, we’re hoping to or we’re not hoping, we’re planning to have an independent Brewers festival later this year where we bring all of the small breweries together and showcase all of the variety and options for Kenyan consumers now in 2023.”

Apart from the brewery, Flynn is also into non-toxic cleaning products for toilets and houses.

They make natural soaps that are made with coconut oil as well as sprays from vinegar and recycled orange.

“Commercial cleaning products will contain a lot of chemicals which do damage your skin, your lungs when you breathe them in,” he adds.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“They can have long term damage to your brain, to your ability to have children. And and so on. So to remove those products from your home and have non-toxic cleaning products can really drive some great health.”

Source link