KENYA – East African Breweries Ltd is set to introduce two premium whisky brands next month in a bid to boost revenue that has come under heavy assault from tax on its products that target low-end market.
The beer maker will also be distributing Johnnie Walker Odyssey Triple Malt and Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whisky in Kenya from December on behalf of Diageo, its anchor shareholder.
Johnnie Walker Odyssey Triple Malt is expected to become one of the most expensive alcohol brands, rivaling King George V, Scotch whisky that retails at over Sh100,000.
Speaking on the sidelines of the official launch of Talisker Storm, another premium whisky brand, last week, Diageo luxury brands ambassador Dougie Duncanson said they are targeting the growing appetite for high- end spirits in the country.
“This is being driven by the ever growing middle class as we have witnessed a growing demand for high-end whiskies, spirits and Vodkas,” said Mr Duncanson.
GROW BY 28 PER CENT
Euromonitor International’s data shows that Kenya’s social class is projected to grow by 28 per cent between 2011 and 2020. This is one of the highest forecasts in the world.
Johnnie Walker Odyssey Triple Malt is described as a new luxury blend with an alcohol content of 40 per cent. It is housed in a swinging decanter to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Sir Alexander’s creation of a whisky vessel capable of staying upright in the sea.
While its retail price for the brand in the Kenya market has not been disclosed, the whisky retails at Sh333,355 (2,299 pounds) per 750ml bottle in the European markets.
Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whisky on the other hand is distilled in Kentucky, US, from a mixture of corn, rye and malted barley. It retails at Sh3,190 in the Western markets. The local price has not been recommended.
EABL’s current premium whisky include Johnnie Walker Red Label, Smirnoff Vodka and Baileys. The brewer’s reserve products include Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and Don Julio Tequila.
The brewer recorded a double-digit growth in its spirits sales in the year ended June which contributed significantly to its earnings, helping it post a five per cent increase in full-year net profit to Sh6.85 billion from Sh6.52 billion the previous year.
The brewer’s business was severely hit after the introduction of 50 per cent excise tax on Senator Keg beer which caused a 75 per cent drop in sales of the low-end brand.
It is perhaps based on this backdrop that the brewer is paying special attention to the high-end spirits which are currently performing better than the low-end products.