Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brewing in Sudan

According to Reuters, SABMiller is creating the first brewery in Sudan in a quarter of a century. Alcohol was banned in the Islamic-run country in 1983, but beer has been allowed in the region since the south of the country achieved semi-autonomous rule three years ago. And though alcohol has been known to cause some problems in the region, here's hoping that the initial issues are simply a reaction to strict government restrictions and they will learn to "drink responsibly."

By creating a South Sudanese brand, Miller will hopefully help start the process of giving the people of that war-torn region some added regional pride -- hopefully in a "hometown spirit" sense, rather than more jingoism. Previously, the region had been importing all their beer from Uganda; Bell Beer is Uganda's most highly-regarded beer. (For an interesting read, check out this BBC article about the Ugandan tradition of communal drinking from a straw.)

According to the Reuters article, the new brewery will employ 250 workers, brewing beer and soft drinks. SABMiller is also reportedly interested in using the region's local cereal grains for the beer's barley.

In the wake of InBev laying off over 2000 workers, the Sudan story is a nice development.

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