A returnable glass line in Africa with KHS

Using high-tech from KHS, AB InBev subsidiary Cervejas de Moçambique in Mozambique has now built the biggest and most modern brewery in Africa.

The heart of the system is what the customer claims to be the fastest returnable glass line on the continent, whose successful installation and commissioning neither a catastrophic tropical cyclone nor the raging corona pandemic were able to prevent.

In large swathes of Africa beer has long been made from local crop cassava. Home-brewed, it takes on a variety of forms, usually cloudy, without any foam to speak of and with a chunky consistency – almost like liquid muesli and by no means to everyone’s taste. The first brewery to have risen to the challenge of making a drinkable beer from the plant also known as manioc or yuca is Cervejas de Moçambique or CDM. In 2011 the company launched one of the first commercial cassava beers in Africa to market under the brand name of Impala. 70% of the starch used comes from the root vegetable instead of from wheat or barley malt. A long development phase ultimately produces a beverage that is yellow and fruity and slightly cloudy in the glass. With its white head of foam it looks like a normal lager and has a surprisingly refreshing taste.

Impala has proved a roaring success for CDM in a number of respects: by procuring local ingredients, the brewery secures the livelihood of small farmers in the region and creates lots of jobs in agriculture. With a turnover of around €300 million (in 2021), the brewery now largely owned by the AB InBev Group is by far the largest local beer producer and market leader.

New site with potential

This status has been earned by CDM’s consistent strategy of growth and continuous increase in capacity. Not so long ago in 2010 a third factory was opened in Nampula in the north of the country in addition to the existing facilities in the capital Maputo and Beira further north up the coast. Just eight years later the foundations were laid for a further greenfield project in Marracuene a few kilometers outside Maputo. Here, production started up with a capacity of 1.6 million hectoliters a year. In view of the fast-growing population and increasing demand for high-quality beer, this rapid development has not yet come to an end, however; the production site has been designed in such a way that it can be easily expanded over the coming years to cope with a capacity of six million hectoliters.

The heart of the new location is a returnable glass line from KHS, on which up to 80,000 550-milliliter bottles per hour can be filled – the format that accounts for about 95% of total sales. This line capacity is extremely high for the African continent. In this region it’s rare to find more than 40,000 bottles per hour being processed.

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