Tabitha Karanja MBS Keroche Breweries: Rise and Fall

Tabitha Karanja is a Kenyan entrepreneur, businesswoman, and industrialist. She is the first successful woman to beat the odds and start a brewery. She is the founder and current CEO of Keroche Breweries.

Tabitha Karanja MBS, Biography

Tabitha Mukami Karanja was born on August 29th, 1964 (age 57) in Kijabe, Kenya. Mukami is the wife to Joseph Karanja Keroche Breweries Chairman. They have four children: Anerlisa Muigai, James Karanja, Edward Muigai, and the late Tecra Muigai.

Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja.
Founder of Keroche and CEO Tabitha Karanja.

She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi. With a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) degree. Mukami worked as chief Librarian at Kenya Wildlife service.

In 2022, Tabitha joined the UDA Party to run for the Nakuru Senatorial seat. Where she will face former Nakuru senator James Mungai, Andrew Yatich, and Mike Weche.

Keroche Breweries Limited Rise

Keroche Breweries Limited was started by Tabitha Karanja and her husband, Joseph Karanja, in 1997. After closing down the hardware store they had At first, they were targeting the middle and lower ends of the market. In an interview, Tabitha stated she wanted to end the monopoly of the existing company in Kenya.

FounderTabitha Karanja, Joseph Karanja
ProductsGins, Beers, wines, vodkas, cider, whiskey
BrandsSummit Lager, Summit Malt, Valley wines, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, the Crescent Range of Spirits, and Vienna Ice and Vienna Ice Ready to Drink Vodkas
Area ServedKenya
Years of operation1997-2022
Key people(CEO) Tabitha Karanja, Joseph Karanja (Chairman)
Number of Employees250 people
HeadquartersKarai, Naivasha along Nairobi-Nakuru highway

In 2007, a levy on locally produced wines was introduced, thereby pricing her products out of the market. Karanja switched to manufacturing ready-to-drink gin and vodka, and gradually added to their alcoholic repertoire with a brand called Summit. Keroche Breweries Limited produces Summit Lager, Summit Malt, Valley wines, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, the Crescent Range of Spirits, and Vienna Ice and Vienna Ice Ready to Drink Vodkas.

Keroche Breweries Limited Fall/Closed

The Brewery has been in a tax battle with KRA over certain of its products since 2006. Which has escalated to the Tax Appeals Tribunal, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal.

According to KRA, Keroche had not only failed to send taxes to the state. But had also refused to honor the payment schemes that the two parties had agreed to.

Tabitha the CEO of Keroche Breweries, and her husband, Joseph, the company’s chairman were arrested. For tax evasion totaling Kes. 14 billion (USD 140 million). Between 2015 and 2019, they were accused of under-declaring [excise] tax and [VAT]. They were released on a cash bail of Kes. 10 million, and her husband was released on a cash bail of Kes. 2 million.

KRA closed down Keroche breweries major facility in Naivasha. For an estimated Ksh.322 million tax arrears. Putting the brewery’s main factory in 2022 in trouble.

A few weeks after the tax collector shut down operations of the Naivasha-based brewers over Sh300 million in tax arrears. The KRA advised 36 banks against lending to the company.

The revenue collector’s action had put the brewery’s 250 jobs in jeopardy. Causing the CEO to address the issue publicly in the hopes of finding a solution.

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