Keroche distributors suffer blow in beer bottle fight with EABL

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Keroche products
Keroche products

The case between two of Kenya’s biggest beer producers took an interesting twist after 6 distributors affiliated to Keroche Breweries Limited after the High Court allowed East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) to collect from the market all its branded bottles pending the determination of the case.

In her ruling, Justice Grace Nzioka noted that EABL has the right to use, collect and package beer in bottles engraved with its logo.

EABL and the Keroche distributors are embroiled in a battle for the usage of brown beer bottles which EABL maintains have its exclusive marks or unique initials.

EABL products
EABL products

At the heart of the contention is the Euro design brown bottle used in packaging Keroche’s Summit beer and EABL’s White Cap and Balozi brands which have a similar shape, hence the brewers can interchange them.

The six distributors — Alexander Mugo, Jacob Wamiti, Phasty Wachira, Samuel Kamau, Catherine Wanjiru and Herman Mwaura — are accusing EABL of engraving its logo on the brown bottles with the shape in a bid to prevent rivals from using them.

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The six distributors want the court to permanently bar EABL and its subsidiary Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) and their agents from embossing beer bottles with any exclusive mark or unique initials.

The six argue that allowing EABL to exclusively use the brown bottles is “irrational, unreasonable, an abuse of intellectual property and misuse of dominance.’

Keroche CEO, Tabitha Karanja speaking
Keroche CEO, Tabitha Karanja speaking

On its part, EABL argues that it buys the bottles engraved with its logo from a leading glass maker in Kenya and that the bottles are used for a span of five years during which they are returnable for reuse.

The court will rule on the matter on January 24.

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