Carlsberg Malawi Limited has cautioned bottle-store operators that it will terminate its contract and withdraw its fridges from them if they sell beer at prices other than those recommended by the brewer.
The company sent its inspectors to visit bottle stores in Blantyre and plead with the owners to reduce prices or risk having their contracts with the company terminated.
“We are visiting bottle stores to negotiate with the owners to sell beers at the recommended prices. If they ignore our pleas, we will terminate contracts and withdraw our fridges,” said Alfred Mwakatundu, Carlsberg area sales representative for Blantyre, speaking to a national daily.
Mwakatundu said the recommended prices for Carlsberg Green is K170 (about $1.01) while Stout and Special Brew is at K190 (about $1.13), Kuchekuche is at K150 ($0.89), Carlsberg Light is at K220 (about $1.31) and Carlsberg beer Large (Petroda) is at K270 (about $1.60).
Carlsberg guzzlers have been complaining that bottle stores operators were milking them by selling beer at high prices. This was reportedly discouraging the consumers and resulting in low sales and loss of returns for the company.
“Selling the beers at recommended prices already gives them a great profit. For example, they buy a crate of Carlsberg Green at K2 750 (about $16.46) and selling it at the recommended price of K170 they make K650 profit per crate.
“A crate of Special Brew or Stout is at K3 060 [about $18] and selling it at K190 [about $1.13] gives a profit of K740 [about $4.43],” said Mwakatundu, arguing that any price beyond “these prices is unacceptable.”
Initiatives like the one taken by Carlsberg Ltd are a rarity in Malawi; where most manufacturers do not care if the ultimate consumers are being ripped off by middle men.
This unethical but rampant practice of selling products at prices more than their recommended prices does not only harm the consumers, but as Carlsberg has noted, it also hurts the manufacturer because consumers switch to alternatives and substitutes when these exist.