New NA bill seeks to raise minimum packaging for alcoholic drinks to 750 milliliters

The Alcoholic Drinks and Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020 sponsored by Wundanyi Member of Parliament, Danson Mwakuwona seeks to amend the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, No.10 of 2010 in order to ensure that packaging of alcoholic drinks is in quantities not below 750 milliliters. This is to deal with the menace of excessive drinking occasioned by the sale of very low quantities of alcoholic drinks making it accessible to youths.

If passed, firms like East Africa Breweries Limited will be forced to order fresh bottles, rejig their production lines, and increase the average cost of beer from the current Sh190 to at least Sh285 a bottle. The proposed law will force brewers to rejig their production lines in a multimillion-shilling revamp to accommodate the larger bottles. EABL however, argues that the new packaging rule will make alcohol expensive for low-income earners hence will turn to consumption of cheap illicit drinks.

“Our volumes will drop because even now we have the 750 ml brands but the sales are low. Beer and the spirits will be inaccessible to low-income Kenyans,” EABL spokesperson told the Business Daily.

The Bill further seeks to provide for deposit refund for the purchase of alcoholic drinks in glass bottles. This is in order to encourage the recycling of glass bottles and also to reduce environmental pollution by providing an economic incentive. In regards to the sale of alcohol in Sachets, Kenya seeks to make its packaging threshold one of the highest in the region. The bill reads:

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“(1) No person shall sell, manufacture, pack or distribute an alcoholic drink in sachets or such other form as may be prescribed.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of the subsection: (1)— (a) no person shall manufacture, pack, distribute, or sell an alcoholic drink in a container of less than 250 milliliters.

(b) The alcoholic drink previously known as Chang’aa or any other distilled alcoholic drink shall only be manufactured, packed, sold or distributed in glass or PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles or metallic containers of the kind specified in paragraph (a).”

A person who will contravene this provision if successfully enacted, commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both.

Related: The history of Keroche Breweries’ unending woes since 2003

Enock Bett
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Enock Bett

Digital Media Enthusiast|Tech, Business, Corporate Affairs, Politics, and Governance. [No Modes] EMAIL: [email protected]

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