Joseph Karanja: From Charcoal burner To Founding Keroche Breweries -

Joseph Karanja: From Charcoal burner To Founding Keroche Breweries

Tabitha Karanja is often associated with Keroche Breweries, while her husband, Joseph Karanja, is not often mentioned. This may be due to his preference for staying out of the spotlight. However, Joseph’s hard work and determination played a crucial role in the success of Keroche Breweries.

According to data from 2012, Keroche Breweries controls around 20% of the local beer market in Kenya. The company was founded by Tabitha and Joseph Karanja in 1997, with Joseph serving as the chairman. Despite facing numerous challenges, Keroche Breweries has become a well-known Kenyan success story.

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Joseph had a difficult upbringing, with a daughter’s message revealing that he once supported his family by burning charcoal. He had tried his hand at a number of unsuccessful ventures before starting Keroche Breweries at the age of 50. His persistence and determination proved that age is just a number and that one can achieve success at any stage in life.

Tabitha and Joseph started Keroche Breweries by producing fortified wine on their farm in Naivasha, Kenya. They were able to enter the market with only five employees and priced their products to appeal to individuals who could not afford expensive wine. However, in 2007, the government imposed high levies on locally produced wines, which drove them out of the market. Instead of giving up, the couple began producing gin and vodka, and entered the beer industry in 2008.

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Despite facing challenges, such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards refusing to award them a standardizing mark in 2003, and an arrest on suspicion of tax evasion in 2019, Keroche Breweries has continued to grow and thrive.

In December 2021, KRA shut down operations at the company after defaulting on Sh332 million tax arrears. Tabitha has stated that the firm is on the verge of laying off over 250 workers and pouring alcohol worth over Sh512 million that is currently stored in tanks.

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Despite these challenges, the story of Joseph Karanja serves as an inspiration for others, proving that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve success.