British multinational brewing and beverage company SABMiller has opened its fourth Nigerian brewery facility in Onitsha.

Work on the first Nigerian ‘greenfield’ brewery facility began in 2011 with $100m investment.

The Onitsha brewery facility is expected to create 180 local jobs, with a possibility of reaching to 450 as production volumes rise.

Local raw materials such as sorghum and maize will be used for the production of beer and malt.

The new brewery will have an annual capacity of up to 500,000 hectolitres.

The initial brand to be brewed will be newly launched Hero Lager, followed by other brands including Trophy Lager, Grand Lager and non-alcoholic malt beverages Grand Malt and Beta Malt.

SABMiller Africa managing director Mark Bowman said the company has invested more than $1bn in Africa over the last five years.

"Today’s opening is an indication of our commitment to increase our capacity further and to consolidate our position on the continent whilst contributing positively to the local communities in which we operate," Bowman added.

SABMiller had forayed into Nigeria in 2009 by forging a strategic partnership with Castel.

Even though Nigeria is Africa’s second largest beer market, average per capita consumption is still relatively low at around 10 litres per year, when compared to an average of around 60 litres in Africa’s largest beer market, South Africa.

SABMiller has more than 200 beer brands and some 70,000 employees in over 75 countries.

The firms’ portfolio of brands in Nigeria includes Grand Lager, Trophy Lager, Castle Milk Stout, Castle Lager, Eagle and Redds.

During the year ended 31 March 2012, the group reported earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation of $5,634m and group revenue of $31,388m.