Is it possible that the meager 20 million of Cameroonians that we are could’ve consumed 660,000,000 liters of beer last year?
As usual, when describing a drunk person, we say that he is “drunk as an Irish”. This saying may need to be revised to become “drunk as a Cameroonian”. In May, the Société Anonyme des Brasseries du Cameroun (SABC) released statistics on the consumption in 2015. Statistics which inform that last year, Cameroonian consumers drank 660,000,000 liters of imported beer and from the three brewery industries: SABC (78% of market share), Guinness (14.4%), Union Camerounaise des Brasseries (7.2%).
Which means that one Cameroonian (out of the 20 million) takes in at least 33 liters of beer per year; thus a consumption of 50 bottles of beer of 0.65 l each. Which is understandable, in an environment with so many bars. Indeed, 6,000 bars were registered in the city of Yaounde only in 2013 by the Syndicat national des exploitants de débits de boisson (National Union of Bar Operators). Which is the same as saying that at every corner, Cameroonians are taking it easy by sipping a little something. The most sought after beers are Castel, “33” export (whose marketing position is in football, the beautiful game in Cameroon).
These figures are increasing despite the increase in the price of beer on 16 February 2016 following the tax hike linked to this product (excise tax). The 0.65 l bottle of Castel moved from FCfa 500 to 600. Rapper Maahlox even sang “augmentez les prix, on va toujours boire !(keep on increasing the prices, we will keep on drinking!)” And in the country, between beers and sodas, there is no contest. SABC’s figures indicate that sodas only accounted for 40 million liters out of the 660 million guzzled last year. We can imagine that more caps will pop with the upcoming Africa Cups of Nations (2016 and 2019) that Cameroon will host.