Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has partnered with Buganda Kingdom, through Majestic Brands- the investment arm of the kingdom, to brew a new beer brand- called Ngule.
Ngule- is a Luganda word that means ‘crown’ or ‘reward’. The beer, classified as a strong beer - with 6% ABV is made from cassava and sorghum all of which are sourced locally from Buganda and Uganda. Ngule’s recommended retail price is ugx 1,500.
UBL and The Kingdom have a revenue sharing agreement that is beneficial to both entities.
Unveiling Ngule to the Kabaka and his subjects at the Enkuuka- Buganda’s annual, year-ender party held at Lubiri, Mengo, the Katikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga hailed Ngule as “job-making” and “wealth-creating” innovation by the Kingdom. “Ngule beer is an innovation (obuyiiya) which is a key agenda on Buganda's 5-year strategic plan. The creation of Ngule will significantly contribute to the kingdom's income and create jobs for people in Buganda and elsewhere- from distributors to sellers as well as farmers in Buganda and outside Buganda that will grow the beer’s ingredients- mainly cassava. This will have a significant impact on Buganda and the rest of the country,” he said.
Mark Mugisha, the Marketing Manager-Beer at UBL said that at UGX1500, Ngule is the most affordable quality beer in its category- a deliberate decision by UBL to get more Ugandans consuming formal beer and moving away from local brews that are of poor quality and potentially hazardous.
“In view of that, Ngule will largely be sold in semi-urban and rural areas where UBL believes there is more potential for this beer,” he said.
Mugisha also said the deliberate sourcing of cassava and sorghum from Buganda and the rest of the country, will see the success of the beer will translate into a boost from agriculture by providing ready market and a “ positive cycle of growth which will lead to upliftment of incomes at a household level within the Buganda Region and the rest of the country.”
Mayiga said that although made by the Kingdom for its subjects, the beer should be embraced by the entire country as benefits accruing from the drink will be spread nationally.
“There will also be opportunities for Ugandan businessmen within the Buganda region to become distributors and earn a living off this great product which will create employment and improve livelihoods of many Ugandans in the Buganda Region. Ngule will pay taxes to the national treasury and that will increase incomes to the country,” he said.
Mayiga also cautioned against excessive drinking of alcohol, noting that drinking in itself is not bad.
“It is important to note that drinking alcohol isn't bad. In fact we have sports and recreation ministry (Emizzanyo N'Okwewumuza) which encourages people to have leisure time... but leisure should not come at the expense of hard work,” he said.
“The Baganda as a people are proud of their Heritage and culture but are also progressive in nature. They celebrate their achievements and successes and thus deserve to be “crowned” for these. Ngule is a beer made for celebratory occasions such as these. It is a reminder that life “rewards/Crowns” those who work at it and at the end of the day the individuals should celebrate with a bottle of Ngule, he added.
Notes to The Editor
• Ngule enters a market that has a couple of other competitors made from local inputs- mainly cassava & sorghum and these are: Senator (original) and Senator Stout- brewed by Uganda Breweries as well as Eagle, brewed by Nile Breweries. But at UGX1,500, Ngule is the most affordable as all the others above are sold at a recommended retail price of UGX2,000.
• With a population of 9.6 million (28%), the Central Region (Buganda) is the most populous region of Uganda.
• According to World Health Organisation's Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH) report for 2010 ( whereas Uganda's adult alcohol consumption per capita is at 8.33 litres, only 11.4% is formal alcohol (beer, spirits & wine) while, 88.6% is locally made alcohol that is not subject to any quality checks. In Kenya, formal alcohol, accounted for 79.7%.