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Keroche toasts to new spirit

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 17- Keroche Breweries has taken yet another step in its quest to increase its market share with the introduction of a new spirit line.

The brewer has launched Viena Ice, a vodka based drink, which it expects to compete favourably in the alcoholic beverages market.

Speaking during the launch, Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Officer Tabitha Karanja said the company is seeking to diversify its product offering in an effort to meet changing customer demands and offer affordable products.

“We are raising the bar in the alcoholic beverage industry by bringing into the market competitive products that the market has been asking for,” Mrs Karanja said.

Keroche currently commands a two percent market share of the industry but Mrs Karanja believes with new investments, its share could grow to 10 percent in the next five years.

“Being the first one I believe the sky is the limit because the production capacity at the moment is big enough to cater for any market that will come,” she said.

Unlike most spirits in the market, Viena Ice boasts of being a ready to drink vodka in lemon flavour. The drink is also less potent being 15 percent in alcohol proof.

“Kenyans have been waiting for this product. That hustle of buying a product that you are told you have to mix is a challenge we believe we have solved by offering a natural product,” Mrs Karanja said.

A 750 ml bottle of Viena Ice will retail at Sh150, in what Keroche believes will breach the gap between the high and low end market.

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Much of Keroche’s market is concentrated in Nairobi, Central Kenya and Nyanza, but the brewer has begun to build distribution capacity in other areas, especially Nakuru and Eldoret.

The CEO said the brewery would keep expanding as long as demand keeps rising.

The indigenous firm produces Summit Lager and Summit Malt but says its plant has the capacity to produce up to 30 separate brands.

In 2008, Keroche made an initial Sh1 billion investment in setting up its plant in Naivasha and continues to withstand the stiff competition in the stormy beer industry.

Mrs Karanja continued to challenge the government to level the playing field by creating an enabling environment for investors for this economy to take off.

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