Kenyans growing taste for high end drinks with rising incomes

Posted In Entertainment, Lifestyle - By admin on Sunday, February 16th, 2014 With No Comments »

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A growing number of Kenyans are switching to high end premium alcoholic beverages as the number of middle income earners and super rich rises.

Statistics released by East African Breweries Limited, the largest distributor of whisky and spirits in the country, show that high end premium drinks — whose prices range between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 a bottle — grew by 50 per cent over the six months to December 2013. A single tot costs between Sh8,500 and Sh10,000 depending on the ambience in which it is served.

“We are delighted to note that our most expensive spirits have grown by over 50 per cent,” EABL’s group managing director, Mr Charles Ireland, said during an investors briefing last week.


According to Euromonitor International, a London-based market intelligence firm, the wealthiest class in African countries is set to grow significantly with Kenya’s social class A — the rich or high income class category — projected to rise 28 per cent by 2020. This is one of the highest forecasts in the world. In China, the social class A is set to grow 4 per cent in the same period.

Scotch brand is particularly a classic signifier of status, especially among younger men, according to Jorgen Hector, director at TNS, a global market research and information group.

“With sleek bottles carefully designed to display their value, premium whiskies are one of the many ways in which increasingly affluent Kenyan consumers are displaying their new found confidence and wealth,” Mr Hector said in earlier interview.

Marketers in Kenya have turned this model on its head, positioning it as a modern, aspirational beverage linked to success.

EABL notes that Kenya is now among the fastest-growing markets in the world with official imports of Scotch whisky rising by nearly three quarters (73 per cent) between 2010 and 2011.

While announcing the company’s financial performance for the half year period ending December 2013, Mr Ireland said they will focus more on expanding the premium segment of its beverages following the good results.

Performance in the premium beer and spirits category outshone that of the low cost beer, where the Senator Keg brand was the hardest hit by enforcement of a 50 per cent excise duty on October 1, 2013.

“We expect consumer behaviour to go premium as more and more people become wealthy,” said Mr Ireland.


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