KWAL refreshes Kibao Vodka brand to grow share of spirits market

Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (KWAL) has revamped one of its iconic brands, Kibao Vodka, by repositioning it as an aspirational brand to meet the ever-evolving consumer tastes, in line with the company’s long-term growth and value creation strategy.

The company is focusing on driving growth in sales and revenue from spirits, the fastest-growing segment of Kenya’s alcohol industry, with a new look Kibao Vodka, targeting a new generation of bold, authentic, and savvy consumers.

The re-brand of Kibao, according to KWAL Commercial Director Jonas Geeraerts, is also geared to connecting with consumers who are opting for spirits as their drink of choice but are also keen on value-for-money.

“We are seeing a growing interest in the new variety for alcoholic spirits as Kenyan consumers try out new experiences and diversify their repertoire of preferred drinks. The demand is projected to rise in the coming years,” said Jonas at an event in Nairobi to launch the revamped Kibao Vodka.

KWAL is banking on changing trends in consumption of alcoholic beverages to increase uptake of its products including Kibao, which remains a popular drink mostly among youthful consumers.

“Some studies, even globally, show consumers reporting a preference for high-quality drinks that offer value-for-money, hence the need for alcohol brands to align with these expectations so as to remain relevant to their clientele.”

During the launch event, celebrity Kenyan musical artist, Boutross Mwebia Munene, popularly known as Boutross, was unveiled as the Kibao Vodka Brand Ambassador.

As part of the Kibao re-brand, KWAL aims to build its presence in the market by tapping into an emerging generation of consumers with a marketing campaign dubbed “Gen More” that appeals to a bold and genuine aspiration to achieve more in life.

“The Gen More campaign is informed by a consumer survey we conducted over a period of six months. We realized that boldness and authenticity are key attributes that matter to this demographic hence the emphasis on a bold, refreshed look for Kibao,” explained the KWAL Commercial Director.

According to Global Drinks Intel, an influential publication for the world’s alcohol industry, brands require a deeper understanding of consumers’ needs and habits, including their tendency, especially the ability of consumers, to experience different brands.

Research firm IWSR predicts a major shift in the African spirits market as consumers upgrade from “low-priced, low-grade products” to “reasonably priced but well-packaged” products. The latest move by KWAL signals a response to this market need with products that meet the quality threshold at the right price point.

In 2019, Kibao Vodka was recognized by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis as the Top 100 World’s Fastest Growing Spirits Brand, having undergone a revamp in 2018. The brand was singled out for its distinctive taste derived from a rigorous distilling process.

To meet growing demand in the local and regional markets, KWAL has invested Ksh 5 billion in a new factory located in Tatu City Industrial Park on the outskirts of Nairobi. This will see the company ramp up production of its wide range of wines, spirits and ciders, featuring in-demand brands like Hunter’s Choice Whisky, Caprice Wine, Savanna and Hunter’s Cider.

Jonas says producing alcoholic beverages locally will help the firm increase competitiveness through pricing and exports to the regional market.

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