COLOSSEO%20col%20piccolo.jpg   MOZAMBIQUE HISTORY Last Update: 16 May 2013
 Andrea Fallibene

The history of beer in Mozambique began in the early twentieth century, Mozambique was a Portuguese colony and since 1902 Lourenco Marques was established as the capital of this overseas province.

A Greek immigrant named George Cretikos, who coursing through the rich neighborhoods of Lourenco Marques to sell fresh water door to door, realized that there was no enogh ice to preserve the fish that every day was unloaded at the docks of the city. So he decided to open the first ice factory and mineral water in Mozambique (1916) The Factory was built
on the west side of the city, opposite the fishing port, and it was called Victoria Cold Storage and Ice Factory, Ltd..

In a few years, he also began producing soft drinks dreaming the first beer brand made in Mozambique. The dream came true in 1932 when the Greek traveled to Germany to hire a master brewer who developed a beer based on a European recipe and according to high quality international standards that Cretikos called Laurentina, honoring the inhabitants of the capital Lourenco Marques, the laurentinos. The recipe of this beer remains secret, but it is known that a part of his success results from the mixture of three malts and a double cold filter that gives stability.

The Laurentina is today the most prized of all beers in Mozambique. And its light variant, and Black Premium has earned him several international awards, including the Gold Medal Monde Selection in Belgium.

Victoria Brewery  - 1940

The 50’s and 60’s were of great expansion for the brand. In 1950, resulting from the merger between the Victoria factory and Fabrica de Cerveja Nacional, the brewery changed name in  Fabricas de Cerveja Reunidas de Lourenco Marques.

The 60's were years of indipendence for Mozambique. Calls for self determination in Mozambique arose shortly after World War II, in light of the independence granted to many other colonies worldwide in the great wave of decolonisation.
Portugal designated Mozambique an overseas territory in 1951 in order to show to the world that the colony had a greater autonomy. It was called the Overseas Province of Mozambique (Provincia Ultramarina de Mocambique) but Portugal still maintained strong control over its overseas province. The state was marked by large disparities between the wealthy Portuguese and the majority of the large rural indigenous African population. Vocal political dissidents opposed to Portuguese rule and claiming independence were typically forced into exile.
The Marxist-Leninist Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO (Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique), supported by Soviet Union in the cold war scenario, was formed in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in neighbouring Tanzania, on June 25, 1962 and two years later in 1964 began a campaign of guerrilla warfare in an attempt to achieve independence for Mozambique.

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Laurentina beer label - 1956 Manica beer label 

In 60's were built two breweries that still remain in the beer market today: in 1960 Fabrica de Cerveja da Beira Ltd that brewed Manica Beer and in 1965 the brewery 2M, abbreviation of Mac-Mahon (Cia. de Cervejas e Refrigerantes Mac-Mahon S.A.R.L.) a brand almost as iconic as the Laurentina.

The name of this beer is indeed a tribute to former French president Marie Edme' Patrice Maurice, Comte de Mac-Mahon, who, in 1875, decided in favor of Portugal in a dispute with Britain over which of the two countries should be with possession of southern Mozambique.

Patrice de Mac-Mahon 1873 - 1879
The conflict ended with ceasefire and negotiations between the Portuguese administration culminated with the Lusaka Accord signed on September 7, 1974. Mozambique became one of the poorest country in the world. Years of misery during the indipendence war. Bad time also for beer factories.

On June 25, 1975 just after independence of Mozambique, all the companies, beer factories included, suffered an intervention by the Samora Machel government. Companies were nationalized. It was created the "SOGERE" Sociedad General de Cervejas e Refrigerantes de Mocambique S.A.R.L. . All beer companies changed its name becaming: SOGERE - Fabrica da cerveja da Beria; SOGERE - Fabrica da Cerveja 2M; SOGERE - Fabrica da Cerveja Victoria.

"From one moment to another factories lost more than half of the staff, including all qualified technicians who (as a result of decolonization) suddenly departed for Portugal, Brazil and South Africa. Because of that, the president Samora Machel (first president of Mozambique, who died in 1986), ordered that all the people who had completed secondary education had to start working in the more urgent to keep the country running". Explained the Cervejas de Mozambique (CdM) administrator Jose Moreira.
At that time it was impossible to effectively supply the beer market. "We had great difficulties in production. Lacked money for the raw materials and to replace parts that were tainted. At most, we could send two or three barrels per week for each restaurant, equivalent to sixty-ninety liters. Not enough for a day." he continued.

Joao dos Santos, responsible for advertising and image of these two brands of beer, confirmed: "In restaurants was established that was only possible to sell beer with meal. Who would want to drink more, should ask for more food dishes that were piling up on the tables, completely filled, next to the empty beer bottles. "

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Unlike the Laurentina, known as the Beer elites, 2M - currently the most consumed beer in the country - it was drunk especially among the poorer class, eventually being sold without a label during the years of civil war, the from 1976 to 1992. 

Jose' Moreira remembered well this stage and said that the labels were the least of it. "The machines we used at the factory were completely obsolete. We worked two days, we stopped one weeks'. One of the most striking episodes of this period was the irreversible breakdown of the machine pasteurizer that brought down the validity of beers from three months to one week. "After five days, began to appear sediment in the bottle and the beer began to rot."

The administrator told that, during these years, most of the beer sold in Mozambique was unfit for consumption. "Transport out of Maputo was made by boat. Just to reach the port of Nacala in the north of the country, it took twenty days - when there came were completely out of time. And its still had to be unloaded and distributed to the most remote points. When its came to the consumer had at least 45 days. "However, guarantees, no one ever got sick or had any complaints about the quality of the beer.
President Samora Machel knew well the difficulties of Jose' Moreira. In afct he used to do inspections at the factory personally. These surprise inspections, known as lightning hits, kept Mozambican companies in alert. «Once appeared here at one in the morning and found most of the staff to sleep, many men drunken, unshaven, barefoot." They were fired.

Mac Mahon beer advertising with the famous slogan "A Nossa Maneira a nossa Cerveja"

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Manica Brewery in Beira An old Manica Beercoaster

Beer factories was privatized again in 1990 when the multinational Castel, owner of the famous beer Cuca, of Angola, bought the Laurentina brewery.
South African multinational SABMiller acquires the Maputo and Beira breweries (2M and Manica beers) in 1995, which become known as Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM)

In 2001, the brand Laurentina was sold to SAb Miller. CDM restructured its combined brewing assets to operate from one site. In 2010 was built one more brewery in Nampula.

"This two beers are the reflection of the recent history of Mozambique." said Jose' Moreira who wacted closely glory, decadence and rebirth of Laurentina and 2M Beer.

Laurentina advertising -  2012

"Duas cervejas que contam a historia de Mocambique" - Noticias Magazine