Budweiser Enters the Kenyan Beer Market

Budweiser, the self-entitled “King of Beers,” has been introduced to the Kenyan public. Multinational beverage distributor, Viva Global, held a launch party for the American lager at the Sankara hotel in Nairobi on Wendesday and announced that they will target young middle class consumers between the age of 21 and 45. The question is: will they succeed?

Budweiser enters a rapidly burgeoning beer market where Tusker-brewer EABL and local Keroche Breweries already compete against a plurality of international brewers. Carlsberg, the renowned Danish lager, was for instance introduced to Kenyans earlier this month and, like Budweiser, Carlsberg also announced that they would target young middle-class consumers.

In an interview with the Business Daily, Viva Global’s business development manager Meera Karia argued that Budweiser will succeed in Kenya by focusing on top bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in Nairobi, where their young clientele is thought to be.

“Lots of Kenyans come across Budweiser in the U.S. and Dubai,” she said. “It is a brand in huge demand.”

The launch at the Sankara Hotel roof top.

The launch at the Sankara Hotel roof top.

Despite Karia’s enthusiasm, many are not pleased with Budweiser’s entry on the Kenyan market. One such person is a writer at local lifestyle blog Nairobi Living.

“Budweiser has been called the ‘King of Beers’ in some spaces,” wrote the blogger, having just gotten back from the Sankara hotel launch on Wednesday. “The problem with those spaces is that it is called this in places which don’t know jack about beer.”

Also in response to the launch, Kamau Kiserian, another Kenyan blogger, asserted that “American beer won’t do well here. It doesn’t have any taste.”

As of Wednesday, you can find 355ml glass bottles of Budweiser sold in various bars and restaurant across Nairobi for approximately Sh170. Viva Global also declared that 500ml and 330ml cans are expected to hit the market shortly.

Originally from Sweden, Chris is a journalist with an extensive interest for African culture and the arts.