KENYA – Beer maker EABL has introduced a herbal-flavoured ready-to-drink spirit in the market, hoping to replicate the success that the brand has enjoyed in Nigeria since its introduction about one-and-a-half years ago.

The regional brewer has begun selling in targeted outlets before launching countrywide. The drink, which is retailing at between Sh80 and Sh100 for a 300ml glass bottle, targets low-income consumers who EABL is keen on courting to boost its sales volumes.

“Orijin is currently piloting in western Kenya region and parts of central region,” said EABL managing director Charles Ireland in an interview.

Orijin is made by mixing neutral spirits with extracts of herbs and fruit. It was introduced in Nigeria by EABL’s parent company, Diageo, in August 2013.

The drink, which has a six per cent alcohol content, is produced from raw materials such as kola nuts, ginger, cloves and sweet tropical fruits, giving it a bitter-sweet flavour.

“We have deployed in-bar visibility in target outlets where the brand has been launched and shall be followed up with a full campaign. We are producing the product locally at our plant in Ruaraka,” said Mr Ireland.

Runaway success

The drink last year contributed “significantly” to the £300m revenue that Diageo booked from its new brands, with the brewer describing it as a “runaway success” ready to be introduced into other markets.

Other than Kenya, Orijin is now also being sold in Ghana.

Nielsen Nigeria, a data tracking firm, says that since the drink’s introduction in the country two years ago, it has managed to secure a market share of over 50 per cent in the non-beer bottled drinks category.

“In fact, Orijin has been such a success that other players are following our lead into this space,” Andy Fennel, Diageo’s Africa President, said during an investor briefing on March 23.

Dutch-based brewer Heineken started marketing ACE Passion, an apple-flavoured drink last year and ACE Roots – a herbal variation – in 2015 in response to Orijin.

EABL has in the past two years launched brands that target low-income consumers, especially after a 50 per cent excise tax was slapped on Senator Keg.

The tax, which was last week reduced to 10 per cent through a legal amendment, saw consumption of the popular drink slump following a near-doubling of prices.

In November 2013, EABL launched Jebel Gold, a keg spirit that sold for Sh10 per 30ml. A month later, Senator Dark Extra was also introduced into the brewer’s portfolio. It has a higher alcohol content (7.5 per cent) than Senator Keg (5.8 per cent) but is cheaper.

May 25, 2015;

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