The East African Breweries Limited(EABL) is under the microscope by the Senate Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industrialization, which is accusing the brewer of engaging in unfair trade practices and monopolistic tendencies.
This is after complaints that the firm was engraving all euro brown design beer bottles in the market, with its trademark and initials.
In a letter to Betty Maina, the Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, dated 9th November 2020, the Senate is seeking for written responses from Ms Maina on why EABL is engaging in this malpractice, which it observes is unfairly cutting off other competitors.
This Senate Standing Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialization wants an explanation on whether EABL has right of ownership of the Euro brown design bottles considering that this particular design existed long before EABL and other brewers entered the Kenyan market.
The letter also queries whether EABL has a right to engrave the Euro brown design beer bottles with its logo, in contravention of the Competition Act. The Senate is pushing the Competition Authority(CA) to take action against EABL should it be found that the brewer breached of the law on the packaging.
The Senate Committee wants details of measures taken by the Ministry, to ensure that EABL is discouraged from abusing its dominant market position and use uncompetitive business practices.
The Senate required the concerned Ministry to respond to issues raised by its Committee, in writing, at the close of Wednesday 18th November 2020.
This is not the first time that EABL has run into a storm over its handling of brown beer bottles in the Kenyan market. Early this year, EABL clashed with Keroche Breweries after the former went out mopping up all brown bottles, similar to what Keroche is using.
The battle landed in court, which ruled in favor of EABL, giving the brewer the right to own the Euro brown beer bottles.