Kenyan tycoon and CEO of Keroche Breweries Tabitha Karanja has revealed that a new expansion strategy could see the Kenya Revenue Authority generate over Ksh1 billion ($92.7 million) annually. The brewer has embarked on a journey to expand its beer portfolio to the extra-strong beer category.
Kenya News reported Karanja is optimistic as the company expands its production to the extra-strong beer category at its Naivasha-based plant. However, she also asked the government to put in place intervention measures to help rescue the beer industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the government to shut down bars, night clubs and parties to curb the spread of the virus, stifling industry growth.
Keroche has been involved in numerous legal battles with the Kenya Revenue Authority over tax evasion. In 2015, the government shut Keroche down for two weeks over a backdated tax duty worth Sh1 billion for the ready-to-drink Vienna Ice, Kenya.Co.Uk reported.
Later in 2019, Karanja and her husband Joseph, who serves as the company’s chairman, were arrested on tax evasion to the tune of Ksh 14 billion ($140 million at the time). The Kenya Revenue Authority took them to court for not declaring the correct tax amount, which they were supposed to remit between 2015 and 2019.
Keroche holds 20 percent of the Kenyan alcoholic beverage market and poses strong competition to the British-controlled East Africa Breweries Ltd. (EABL).
In 2013, Keroche made bold moves to expand that jolted the EABL when it had just three percent of the Kenyan market. Keroche upgraded its bottling plant at a cost of $29 million, which saw it increase its capacity from 60,000 bottles a day to about 600,000.
It then diversified into beer-making for low-income earners, packing spirits in cheaply priced sachets. The disruption forced EABL to issue two new beer brands targeted at low-income earners.