If Nairobi were a person, what would they drink?

I work in those ‘free’ environments. Where the dress code is described as ‘self-expressive’ … (the director is famed for his luminous brightly coloured socks and his signature pop on the collar) and all the staff members are below the age of 35. Just like any other professional body, there are rules and policies we adhere to. But one remains our mantra to this day…. We work hard, and we play hard

You’re probably wondering why this is relevant… I figured there would be better place to start off my journey into the world of Nairobi drinkers than here. Individuals from all walks of life, all sections of Nairobi County, all consumers of alcoholic beverages… The perfect canvas. So I stepped out of my office and made a few rounds  asking,  ‘What is your preferred drink’ and ‘why’

With a group of 15 individuals, I can safely say the Nairobi Drinker…is not a loyal drinker

Those that I could call ‘Die Hard’ fans were wine drinkers… fans of sweet white…’ Lady Harvest’ for example… One of the interns clarified that she started wine only because her friend’s mum drank it, and introduced her. Now all she has is Dry, Red wine…and rarely steps away from her favourite brand  ‘Ménage a trois’….

Others admitted to feeling a heavy amount of peer pressure, and that is why they opted to start on wine drinking… ‘When I go out, and my four friends all have wine glasses, and I’m the only lady on the table with a beer…It doesn’t look so good.’ I see now where the famous line, ‘Wine, how classy people get drunk’ came from. Many assume that a lady enjoying her beer isn’t as respectable as her wine drinking counterpart… to an extent almost coming off as easy?

Either way, my search for what Nairobi drinks moved on…

Most men admitted to be slaves to their favourite beers… Surprisingly, I can comfortably say our office premise contains only one Tusker Drinker! The one drink that Kenya is famous for doesn’t seem to resonate too well in this environment… Another surprise was that there was only one Malt drinker out of 4 loyal beer consumers… The others preferred light beers. ‘Watching their weight’ they said… proving that Kenya, more specifically Nairobi is moving into the ‘health’ lifestyle…. I remember a while back when i drank beer, I’d never miss a friend that would point at their belly while I took a sip! A warning that if i didn’t change my drinking habits. they’d change me…and for worse… Launches of a couple of light beers last year has been followed by a trend of people moving towards healthier foods, coupled of course with, ‘healthier drinks’ ….

However, another one of our interns stated she is a dedicated Guinness Stout (popularly known as GK) drinker. If you’ve tasted this you know the taste has to be acquired… Many mix it with Coca-Cola to be able to stomach it… With her, the taste was acquired a year ago, and she has not gone back since! Even men need to pack extra cahones to the bar if this is what they’ll be having. So of course the stigma associated with the sight of a pretty young lady enjoying a large, ice cold stout is worth mentioning…. She admitted herself that she could never be seen out of her local, or at a ‘special event’ or ‘special night out’ even near that drink… ‘how about on a date?’ I asked playfully…. ‘Wine. No panty droppers, no GK… Just wine’ …. Either way, is anyone really ever themselves on a date? I don’t judge….

Whiskies took precedence as well, especially among the men. The men who live a more ‘wealthy’ lifestyle, and of course those that aspire to get to that same class. ‘I like my Glen’ or ‘I like my Chivas’ resonated among the higher level management… ‘Let the Jameson sink in’ was the tune sang by the younger generation … Makes me wonder if Pernord Ricard paid Rihanna for that endorsement? Because it did wonders for sales especially right here in Kenya! Sources confirm that a recent promotion on Whiskies from the same company garnered sales of well over 1000 bottles during a three week period, and almost half of that was Jameson!

All in all, this was a trip through just one office block, of individuals I can certify as ‘drinkers’ …

I came to the conclusion that If Nairobi were a person, they’d drink nearly anything and everything! A large chunk of the Kenyan Market is ripe for the picking… We have not yet ‘found ourselves’ in terms of alcohol and loyalty… Several niches around the food and beverage industry are yet to be carved out… The beverage that comes in and sweeps this market, be it one for us hard players or one for the more reserved teetotaler, should most certainly garner huge returns on their investments!


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