By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company’s founder, while describing domestic sales as “very encouraging”, charged that his five year-old company had to overcome “monopolistic trade infringement” in establishing itself in the local liquor market.
Speaking with Tribune Business at the recent opening of the Bahamian Brewery’s $1.6 million Nassau headquarters, located on Nassau Street, Jimmy Sands said the compan,y which began on Grand Bahama in 2007, had grown “quite quickly”.
The Nassau headquarters will serve as the administration building, warehouse, liquor store and distribution hub.
“We’re a small growing company,” Mr Sands said. “We have grown quite quickly, but I believe in ‘slow fire, consistent heat,. The numbers that I predicted that I would have achieved, I achieved it.
“However, I grossly underestimated the cost of producings such as utilities, labour, materials, exchange rates. You add all these factors in there, and actually the cost of production is higher than I expected, so to compensate you need sales. I achieved what I needed to achieve thus far.”
Mr Sands, who has been critical of the tactics used by his long-established New Providence rival, Commonwealth Brewery, to boost its Kalik brand, having accused the company of attempting to push Sands Beer put of the market, reiterated those criticisms.
“I have met great challenges, and in most countries what is done here wouldn’t be allowed,” Mr Sands added. “However, we don’t have these rules or laws on the books, and I feel the reason why it is not on the books is because there was no reason for it to be so.
“I feel it is a monopolistic trade infringement. Most countries have protection that would guard again these sort of practices. We have to be very careful that we don’t allow big international companies to walk all over us.”
Mr Sands added that after starting with 14 employees, the all-Bahamian company now employed 75 persons.
“That number is growing daily,” said Mr Sands, who noted that the company was had been able to exploit the additional tax incentives offered by the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.
“All the beer is produced in Grand Bahama and is transported here by container, again at an additional cost. The water in Grand Bahama is excellent water. The Port of Grand Bahama has been a tremendous service,” said Mr Sands.
The Bahamian Brewery & Beverage which produces Sands Beer, Sands Light, High Rock and Strong Back, plan to begin exports to the US in two months.
“It’s going to be a very slow process. These sort of things you just can’t rush into it. When you do something you have to do it right. If you do it right the chances of growing is better,” Mr Sands said.