Food & Drinks

A new taste of beer


From left: Pinky Ghelani, Vinnie O and Alice Owambo pose for a photo during the launch of White Cup Crisp at Zen Garden on March 2, 2022. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG

There was a time when beer was beer. When ordering, you had no option of choosing how bitter the beer was or if the alcohol content was too high to knock you off in minutes.

But now, brewers are making beers lighter, less bitter, and lowering the carbohydrates in them to cater to consumers who care about calories and beer bellies.

Crisp and clean beers are now gaining popularity among light drinkers looking for beverages whose alcohol content is lower than normal.

Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) recently relaunched its White Cap Crisp. White Cap Crisp is an extension variant of White Cap Lager.

KBL says it is targeting male and female drinkers who are keen on their wellness and fitness.

“They {the drinkers} love hanging out with their friends over a meal as they enjoy their favourite beer during light drinking occasions especially lunch, business meetings or even after work out,” said Anne Joy Michira, the marketing and innovation director.

“We are re-introducing it as a crisp beer at 3 percent ABV {alcohol by volume},” she added.

Besides the low alcohol beer, brewers are looking to intensify marketing for their low-carb beer to health-conscious drinkers as competition from crafts intensify.

254 Brewing Company, a craft beer maker, has been in the market for four years now and says demand for its alcoholic beverages is gradually growing.

Eoin Flinn, the co-founder and CEO at 254 Brewing says that since the bars opened after the pandemic closures, their sales have increased significantly.

Mr Flinn says that beer lovers are now being treated to an abundance of choice as craft beers become popular.

“Consumers of craft beer in Kenya are the educated middle-class, and that demographic is very tiny and it is not what they {traditional beer makers} are looking for. We plan to build around what Kenyans like. We have asked ourselves, ‘what do people want or like because what we want to do in the long run is make small microbreweries around the country,” he said.

Most of their craft beers’ alcohol content ranges between 4.2 to 7 percent.

Others in the low-alcohol beer market is Viva Global which imports Corona beer, produced by a Mexican brewery. It is a light beer and enjoyed by both male and female.

“Corona has been in the market for over 10 years now. Since we had a good portfolio of various wines and spirits, we thought of introducing beers also. Corona has done well in the market and is the most premium brand in the imported beers category and it competes with the Mexican Beer range,” said Meera Karia, the business development manager at Viva Global.

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