Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO alcoholic beverages firm, Hitlinic Investments, is set to introduce four new products into the market before the end of this year.
Company director Mr Raj Modi said they have completed works on new product formulas for rum, whiskey, ginger ale and lemonade products.
The company, which started operations two years ago, produces mineral water, soda and cane spirit marketed under its Everest brand as well as Modivine brandy and Divine vodka.
“Everything is ready for us to introduce rum and whisky into the market. We have come up with the concentrates, solutions and formula for the two new products. We are just working on ensuring that the products are of good quality,” said Mr Modi.
“We will definitely introduce them into the market before the end of this year. We also intend to start production of ginger ale and lemonade as well.
“We are not going to invest much in coming up with these new products.
“It’s a matter of adding extra lines in our product.”
The company invested over $500 000 in setting-up a state-of-the-art automated water purification plant and an additional $300 000 to install a beverages manufacturing machinery.
Mr Modi said the high demand for beverages on the market prompted the company to consider introducing additional products.
“We are doing extremely well than we had anticipated when we started this business. Our performance on the market has been impressive with 80 percent of our products being sold through our retail outlet, Liquor Hub here in Bulawayo and we have a distribution point in Harare,” he said.
Mr Modi, however, said the company’s capacity utilisation was being constrained by lack of foreign currency to import adequate integral raw materials.
“At the moment we are producing 30 000 litres of alcohol a month but we have the capacity of producing 300 000 litres but we are constrained by the shortage of foreign currency, which has affected our production to the extent of halting our operations at times.
“We are being forced to import most of the ingredients from Swaziland because the local ones are on the expensive side and the quality isn’t that good,” he said.
Hitlink Investments employs over 40 workers both at its mineral water and beverages operations.