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Cheap liquor? Not for class conscious Nairobians

A growing number of Nairobians 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 high end premium drinks – whose price range between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 a bottle – grew by 50 per cent over the six months to December 2013.

A single tot ranges between Sh8,500 and Sh10,000.

“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 on Friday during an investors briefing. 

According to Euromonitor International, London-based market intelligence firm, the wealthiest class in African countries is set to grow significantly in the period, with Kenya’s Social Class ‘A’, the rich or high income class category, projected to grow 28 per cent by 2020.

This is one of the highest forecasts in the world. In China, for instance, the Social Class ‘A’ is only set to grow 4 per cent to 2020. 

Scotch brand is particularly a classic signifier of status, especially amongst 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,” he said.