Top Scottish whisky-maker seeks East Africa manager


Malt Master’s Edition. PHOTO | COURTESY

A Scottish manufacturer of top whiskies like Glenfiddich is set to recruit a Nairobi-based manager in a race to grow sales in East Africa, underlining increased interest in the region by global liquor firms.

William Grant & Sons, which also manufactures Grants and Tullamore Dew, is looking for an area manager who will identify new opportunities and expand its distribution networks in the region.

The family owned whisky distiller currently distributes its products in Kenya and the region exclusively through Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks whose main offices are in Sarit Centre.

“We have an exciting opportunity for an industry-experienced area manager to be based in Kenya with the responsibility of delivering the company’s commercial and marketing objectives for East Africa,” said William Grant & Sons, the world’s third largest whisky and spirits firm.

Mohan’s Oysterbay Drinks has been importing and distributing William Grant & Sons products directly for 10 years and an area manager could see a change in this arrangement.

William Grant & Sons declined to comment on its plans, including whether or not it will open a regional office like Dutch brewer Heineken which established its presence in Nairobi in 2012 to push its brand in East African markets.

The recruitment, however, is a signal of their confidence in the region’s prospects. Kenya, for instance, has seen significant growth in whisky sales on the back of demand from the growing, well-travelled middle class with high disposable incomes.

A local representative is also evidence of William Grant & Sons’ readiness to fight for a bigger market share.

The distiller says the new area manager will be expected to “build solid awareness of external market trends —consumer, competitor, political insight— and identify opportunities to drive business development.”

This drive will place them in direct competition with firms like East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and French-based Pernod Ricard which have several brands of spirits.

The two firms have in the past year stepped up the marketing of their brands in order to grow market shares. In the year ended in June, EABL recorded a double digit growth in its spirits sales that contributed significantly to its earnings.

EABL’s premium spirits include Johnnie Walker Red Label, Smirnoff Vodka and Baileys while its reserve products include Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Talisker Malt Whisky and Don Julio tequila.