NBL Mbarara Brewery

Mbarara Brewery: setting design precedents with Uganda’s most advanced brewery

Nile Breweries Limited (NBL), a subsidiary of SABMiller (which is now part of AB InBev), launched a project in 2012 for the construction of a new greenfields brewery at Mbarara in south-western Uganda to international quality standards.

The brewery needed to be cost-effective and focus on optimising the cost spent per hectolitre. As the building would be positioned on the banks of the Rwizi River, the design had to be visually appealing and have low industrial emissions, setting a precedent for future development in the area.

Zutari was appointed as the civil and structural consultant for the project. The company’s design team worked closely with Krones AG, the process designers on the project. The design optimisation process started at project inception with the innovative establishment of an integrated site layout, which centred around a common axis that accommodates the product flow lines and links all the principal process areas. It enables future expansion of any of these areas, as service corridors/pipe spines provide access between them.

Readily expandable ergonomic design

Another innovative feature is a central mezzanine level that houses the control rooms, electrical distribution rooms, and offices, and that provides immediate pedestrian access to all key process areas. This mezzanine level extends along the primary axis to the packaging hall, with provision for an additional hall to be readily constructed with minimum interference to existing operations, should one be needed in the future. A single site access point facilitates tight control of distribution and of bulk raw materials delivery vehicles, which have to pass over a weighbridge.

A world-class outcome

Zutari provided the full engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for NBL’s project, including providing direct input into the design for the treatment system. The common axis concept has since been used as a model for other breweries. The design of the brewery limited building heights as far as possible and the uniform, continuous building minimised the need for external and ancillary buildings. On completion, the clean lines of the impressive structure housed the most advanced brewery in the country.

The project was the 2013 CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards winner, Best International Project.

On completion, the clean lines of the impressive structure housed the most advanced brewery in the country.

*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020.  Zutari acquired Aurecon Middle East on 20 November 2020.

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