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Kenyans down half-a-billion worth of Scotch

Kenyans guzzled nearly half a billion shillings worth of Scotch in 2013 and are expected to surpass this figure as the festive season concludes in 2014.

The numbers are revealed in a report released by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) that monitors the industry in Scotland, part of the UK.

SWA’s 2013 statistical report released late last month shows Scotch exports to Kenya stood at £3.37 million (Sh479 million), a 62 per cent increase from £2.08 million (Sh296 million) sold in 2012.

GROWING ECONOMY

The Edinburgh-based association whose members include Diageo, East African Breweries Ltd’s (EABL) parent company, sources the data from UK customs officials and internal research.

SWA director of international affairs Campbell Evans said the increase in sales was due to a growing economy, more sophisticated consumer base and enforcement of laws.

“The market is developing and consumers are learning more about Scotch whisky. In addition, better enforcement of the tax system helps to ensure legitimate traders are able to invest in brands and retail sales,” Mr Evans said.

Most sales have been of blended whisky but there has been growth in the high-street single-malt whisky.

SWA’s data only looks at Scotch whisky, implying that Kenyans could have drunk more than Sh500 million when whiskeys from American and Irish distilleries are included.

ASPIRATIONAL DRINK

The growing consumption of the liquor has also caught the eye of EABL which has been rolling out brands targeting this market.

“Kenya’s social class is projected to grow 28 per cent from 2011 to 2020, one of the highest forecasts in the world. This group is touted to seek premium products.

‘‘Nairobi, itself, is experiencing a surge of whisky consumption where Scotch is an aspirational drink,” said EABL’s reserve brand ambassador Douglas Duncanson.

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