In 2000, Ian Mackintosh, technical director of Nile Breweries in Uganda, a subsidiary of the global brewer SABMiller plc, faced a problem. Sales of the company’s clear beers had stalled, and given the relatively high prices for its products, the brewery was having a hard time reaching out to new consumers, most of whom were in the lower income brackets.
But Mackintosh knew that the demand for a cheaper beer existed. Low-income consumers in Uganda weren’t forgoing beer consumption; instead, they were drinking home brews, with potentially severe health consequences. Home brews are widely used in many African nations, despite the fact that they can cause serious ailments and even death.
Mackintosh realized that Nile Breweries had to reduce the price of