Three cornerstones of a holistic production operation
Actually, Biruk Haile Shemer heads a company with 1,000 employees, which produces doors and windows made of aluminium, plus the material itself. As a qualified architect, he has worked in both Ethiopia and England. “But right from the start it was my dream to produce beverages. At first, I considered an energy drink, but sales for this product category are pretty weak in Ethiopia,” he relates. Now he’s making this dream come true with Garamba water.
Because six years ago, quite by accident he discovered this spring location, and was immediately fascinated by its unspoiled natural beauty. “The product has to speak for itself,” he comments. “I then visited almost all the water producers in Ethiopia, as well as bottlers in Turkey, in Uganda and in China, so as to acquire a feeling for the technology and the market involved. It was four years ago that I first came into contact with Krones and asked them to explain their corporate philosophy. Krones’ agency in Ethiopia was very helpful throughout. After taking due time for consideration, I then decided at leisure that Krones was the right partner for me,” he relates.
For Biruk Haile Shemer, there are three indispensable cornerstones for a holistic production operation: natural spring water, state-of-the-art machinery, and well-trained staff. “You can’t afford to break this chain, otherwise the quality will suffer,” is his firm conviction. “If we had, for example, chosen a differently designed system for water treatment, then there would perhaps have been a risk of recontamination. Ultra filtration is the product-friendliest process for water treatment; it preserves all the TDS (total dissolved solids, Ed.), which in our water come to 70 milligrams per litre. We use only ozonisation for extending the shelf-life.”
“I’m sticking with Krones”
“Sales of packaged water in Ethiopia are set to rise considerably, and our water brand will participate in this upturn,” believes Biruk Haile Shemer. Which is why next year he already intends to order a second bottling line, this time rated at 30,000 bottles per hour – once again from Krones, on the principle of “never change a running system”. “Krones is a very serious and dependable company. The people there know what they’re doing. I’m sticking with Krones,” he says. And he has even more plans: he intends to build a second plant in Arbegona for bottling the local gin Areky and soft drinks, plus another plant in the north of Ethiopia. Biruk Haile Shemer’s verdict is this: “There’s a lot to do in Ethiopia. The aluminium business is my daily bread. But after all people are always going to need something to drink.”