Diageo to use mobile distilleries built from shipping containers to break into some African countries; first such distillery, able to produce 600,000 cases/year, recently set up in Ghana

LONDON , November 20, 2013 () – DIAGEO is attempting to break into some of the world’s most difficult-to-reach markets with a mobile distillery built from shipping containers, writes Rupert Steiner.

The spirits giant behind Smirnoff vodka, and Gordon’s gin said it needed to be ‘agile’ to crack some African countries which have poor infrastructure and transport links.

The first distillery, able to produce 600,000 cases a year, was set up in Ghana last week and there are plans for similar in Angola and Mozambique The temporary production facility made out of five metal containers that are then pieced together in different locations blends and bottles local whisky. It can then be disassembled and moved to a new location.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes, who outlined a new strategy for the world’s biggest spirit maker in a presentation late last night, said: ‘We need to be agile - the spirits opportunity in Africa is very exciting. The supply team built a manufacturing cube out of five containers and the equipment is able to start making spirits to a high quality.’

Menezes also signalled an end to the Diageo’s (down 1.5p at 2028.5p) fast paced acquisitions in emerging markets, saying the M&A activity seen in recent years will slow down.

‘The scale of change in emerging markets has been dramatic,’ he said, adding that acquisitions such as Mey Icki in Turkey and Shui Jing Fang in China have already generated £700m in sales.

On consumer confidence Menezes said: ‘I still think the global economic environment is uncertain. There has clearly been a slow down in emerging markets. We see Europe as tough and the same in the US. We are playing this game for the short medium and long term. We are not immune from the GDP and economic growth we are seeing in the emerging markets.’

© Daily Mail

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