Golden Guinea Breweries Plc, the Umuahia, Abia State-based company which has been closed for 17 years is finally back to business.
According to a statement by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu, he stated that he drank his first glass of Golden Guinea beer on Friday after more than 17 years.
The Commissioner applauded the doggedness and hard work of the private sector owners of the company whom he said worked day and night to bring back the company back to function.
He urged Nigerians to look out for Golden Guinea beers (Golden Guinea Lager, Bergedorf Malta, Eagle Stout and Bergedoff Lager) in beer parlours across the country.
“In line with the internal review and monitoring agenda of the Governor Ikpeazu-led administration, I visited Golden Guinea Brewery today, April 12, 2019, with Sam Hart, aide to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, to see how far the work has gone at the facility and was pleasantly surprised when we were offered glasses of freshly brewed Golden Guinea Beer straight from the brewing tanks of the new look automated plant.”
Speaking further, he said “I am happy to inform the good people of Abia State, Ndigbo and Nigerians in general that from the next two weeks they can go to any beer parlour in the country and drink their favourite Golden Guinea beer, Malt, Eagle Stout or Bergedoff Beer.
“While we applaud the doggedness and hard work of the private sector owners of the company who worked day and night to bring back our favorite brewery and sustain Dr Okpara’s dream of a fully industrialized South East, the significance of the return of Golden Guinea is also not lost on us.
“The Ikpeazu-led administration is determined to support private sector organizations to create as much jobs as possible in the state to take care of the current and future employment needs of our brilliant graduates,” the commissioner said.
The brewery which has been closed for 17 years reopened after receiving a loan facility of N3.6bn from the Federal Government.
A statement issued by the company disclosed that the funding package was provided by the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) with the Bank of Industry (BoI) also pitching in with an Economic Revival Facility.
Also commenting on Golden Guinea Breweries reopening, Sam Hart, an aid to Governor Ikpeazu’s said, “People have taunted us with Golden Guinea. A regular question aides of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu get is where is the Golden Guinea? You people promised us. So a resuscitated Golden Guinea will be a mockery silencer,” Hart said.
Narrating how he felt when they were offered glasses of freshly brewed Golden Guinea Beer straight from the brewing tanks on Friday, he said: “We saw thousands of crates of empty bottles ready to be filled up. We saw all hands on deck. We saw jobs, direct and indirect. We saw drivers, distributors, dealers, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, food sellers, booked hotels for the truck drivers, we saw everything.
“Gov Ikpeazu took the Golden Guinea project personal.
“Ikpeazu has paid many visits to the complex. He has held countless meetings with Okeosisi (Chairman of Golden Guinea Breweries Plc, Chief Okey Nzenwa). They have both attended several meetings at places to ensure that this project comes to fruition.”
Golden Guinea originally commenced business in 1963 and was named Independence Brewery Limited. Annual capacity at the time was 1 million gallons. The location of Umuahia was chosen due to the importance of water which led to the selection of a site in Umuahia, the town of the Regional Premier, Dr Michael Okpara.
The company introduced Eagle Stout to the market in 1967 production was cut short between 1967 and 1970 due to the Nigerian Civil War. Production restarted in 1971 following the end of the war. The company also changed its name to Golden Guinea Breweries. In 1975, the company was revamped and an extension was built by the German firm Coutinho Caro which later participated in an equity offering issued by the firm.
Production at the brewery was again cut short by a fire incident in 2003 but recent attempts have been made to bring the brewery back to life. The company holds franchise rights from German-based Holsten Breweries to produce and market Golden Guinea Lager, Bergedorf Premium Lager and Bergedorf Malta in Nigeria.
Majority shares in the company were later purchased by Pan Martine Investments Ltd promoted by Mr. Okey Nzenwa.
In April 2018, the brewery received a grant of N3.6 billion from the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Bank of Industry (BoI).
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