Kenya Breweries reports of increased spirits consumption as they embark on a new promotion to further drive consumption of the alcohol beverages. The spirits segment reported a 2.4 percent annual growth as per the 2017 financial report. This informed the investment on where to target growth as guided by their financial presentation where the company committed to “strengthen and accelerate premium core brands”.
“What we’ve noticed is that there is increased consumption of spirits, historically Kenya is known as a beer market, but over the years more people are drinking spirits, and then more people who drink beer are drinking beer and spirits,” said Annjoy Muhoro, KBL Head of Spirits in the sidelines of the launch of Win a Ride Promotion. The promotion will have winners drive away with one of two Subaru Imprezzas in the Kshs 11 million promotion for the three spirits Smirnoff, J&B and Black & White.
Ms Muhoro attributes the significant growth in the spirits segment to affordability of the drinks, especially those produced locally noting that people discovered that spirits do offer better value for money than beer. Compared to beer, spirits come off as the cheaper option. New trends and younger consumers have seen more sales of spirits with an especially huge interest in whiskeys over the last 5 years.
Majority of the spirits KBL sells, over 80 percent are produced locally with Kenya Cane taking the lion’s share. Other spirits produced in the Ruaraka factory include the quite popular Smirnoff Vodka, Gilbeys Gin, Richot Brandy, Popov Vodka, Chrome Vodka, Cane Extra Golden (which is in the lower mainstream segment) and Origin Herbal Spirit which was recently launched.
Smirnoff Vodka is produced locally with only the flavoured versions being imported like the espresso and vanilla flavours. A few of the spirits making components are imported, but largely the produce is sourced locally, and this makes the cost of production go down for the spirits. Ms Muhoro adds that the net effect on the P&L and market price for the spirits ends up being positive, driving affordability of these drinks.
Whiskeys however are all imported, and as she says, the reason to this is that the process to make them is very intensive as it involves aging of whiskey.
The locally produced spirits are also exported to Rwanda and South Sudan.