Growing up in the South East in the 70/80s, Golden Guinea Lager beer or simply ‘GG’ was not only a status symbol but a pride of the South East.
When it went public, almost every enlightened Igbo man I knew, including my dear Dad owned Golden Guinea Breweries Shares. I always cherished seeing those glossy back Annual reports sent by the company.
For all the noise over HERO beer today, Golden Guinea Larger Beer was simply a master and a world class beer too and the company employed a lot of people.
Golden Guinea Breweries was originally named Independence Brewery Limited. Its location was chosen due to its nearness to water. You may wish to know that it’s only a short distance from the Afara home of Nnamdi Kanu’s father.
Production kicked off in 1963 with an annual capacity of 1 million gallons.
In 1967, the company introduced Eagle Stout to the market but between 1967 and 1970, further production was hampered by the Nigerian Civil War.
In 1971, the company changed its name to the current one – Golden Guinea Breweries and in 1975, the company was rehabilitated with an extension built by the German firm Coutinho Caro which later participated in an equity offering issued by the firm.
Golden Guinea Breweries used to be the pride of the eastern region of the country, but a fire incident in 2003 affected the brewery firm as a result of the destruction of its production equipment during the inferno. Consequently it closed operation, losing jobs with pension claims.
Before it went moribund, Golden Guinea Breweries had franchise rights to produce and market Golden Guinea Beer, Holsten Brewery’s Bergedorf premium lager beer and Bergedorf Malta in Nigeria.
Today to the glory of God, the story of Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia has changed with its re-opening, 16 years after it was closed down. This is coming one year after it received a grant of N3.6 Billion through the Nigerian Export & Import Bank (NEXIM) with support from the Bank of Industry (BoI) acting in tandem with the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s policy and commitment to revive moribund industries nationwide. I must also give some credit to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu (PDP) Abia state.
The restoration of the Brewery includes the installation of a new plant, capable of producing 48,000 bottles per hour, two brand new boilers with a third one in the pipeline while effective water and power supply have been put in place.
Feel free to tell me it’s not Buhari that did it or he did not initiate it or the plan has been in the pipeline (for over a decade). Yes. Actually Buhari did not set up the NEXIM Bank.
He only knows how to use it to achieve the goals for which it was set up, just like he didn’t set up the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) but he sure knows how to use it to build the second Niger Bridge.
For me, I’m only happy that thousands of Nigerians will be back to work while our popular Golden Guinea Larger Beer, Eagle stout, Bergerdoff beer are coming back.
I might even inherit my father’s Shares there. Who knows.
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