An investigation report filed in court shows that Kenya’s top two beer makers EABL and Keroche have mixed up their bottles to an extent that consumers are drinking products packed in those of rival firms unknowingly.
Filed by EABL, the report accuses bar owners of causing the mix-up as the bottles are similar in shape, size and colour.
EABL has submitted the report based on an investigation done by Kirinyaga County in a suit where it is seeking to stop Keroche from using its beer bottles.
The statement that barmen have mixed up bottles, however, appears to indicate that the problem affects both companies.
“On September 30 we visited one Keroche depot in Kerugoya Town. We found 16 crates out of which four were found to bear the EABL embossment in issue. We also discovered that the depot people were receiving empty bottles from retailers indiscriminately-without considering whether the empty bottles belong to the breweries or the competitor,” the report states.
“On October 1 we visited an EABL depot in Kerugoya town. 65 bottles out of the 500 bottles belonged to Keroche Breweries. We also randomly selected two crates of beer. Only 16 out of the 50 EABL beverages were found to have the embossment in dispute. The evidence at hand points out that both parties use, misuse or even abuse the empty bottles from their worthy opponent,” the reports states.
The investigation was triggered by EABL’s complaint over the use of its bottles to package Keroche’s products.
EABL claims Keroche is using its branded bottles to package its Summit Lager and Vienna Ice Vodka.
Justice Fred Ochieng has issued a court order barring Keroche from using EABL branded bottles until the case comes up for hearing on May 5.
RESPOND TO ALLEGATIONS
He granted Keroche 14 days to respond to the allegations raised by EABL. He will give further directions on the matter after the May 5 hearing.
EABL has filed the investigation report as part of its evidence in the suit.
Kirinyaga County in the report added that it will not pursue the EABL complaint further as it may put it at the centre of “business rivalry battles” which it is not mandated to promote.
The county government had in July last year banned the sale of Keroche’s Summit Lager and Vienna Ice Vodka over quality concerns.
The Ruaraka-based brewer says raids carried out in Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Laikipia and Meru saw the county governments impound several bottles of Summit Lager and Vienna Ice packaged in EABL branded bottles.