Whisky and food pairings are back, and thanks to a new generation defying the drinking stereotypes, some brands are enjoying a good year.
At a pairing on Tuesday, Josephine Katambo, the spirits senior brand manager at East African Breweries (EABL) #ticker:EABL, said that there has been a high uptake of some of their whiskies in the past few months, especially Singleton.
According to Ms Katambo, Singleton is gaining drinkers, especially in Kenya.
“We have many people wanting to try it. Consumption has been pretty good. We have seen its distribution double and consumption almost triple in three months,” she said.
Arj Sahi, a drinks consultant at the Local Grill, in Nairobi’s Village Market, said part of the growth is attributed to diners seeking memorable experiences, not just drinking alcohol.
They want to talk about and enjoy a single malt whisky that has sat in the cellar for 12, 15, or 18 years.
“Today, drinking whisky is all about an experience. It is all about how the food complements the whisky. People look forward to such to create memories,” said Mr Sahi.
He adds that what diners want to remember is the taste and experience. Mr Sahi was the host of the Singleton experience, with guests treated to two different verses of whisky.
“We started with the Singleton verse two. We had two wonderful, bold different flavours, the strawberry embezzled and the pineapple and Habanero. It was a whole whisky sours here. It was a delicious bold of fusions. We used Guinness as a syrup, and espresso martinis with homemade ice cream. It’s all about going out of the norm and making sure your customers come back to say hi,” Mr Sahi.
Ms Katambo said what has helped drive Singleton sales is the stories being told by people who appreciate the whisky.
“In life, we tend to fear what people think about us. Singleton reminds us that it is so okay to be different and it’s okay to live unapologetically. That is the biggest thing that we want to drive with the brand,” she said.
According to Mr Sahi, despite whisky being regarded as an old man’s drink, they are coming up with specially-made drinks for young drinkers.
“Look at this cocktail, it’s a gunnies syrup old-fashioned. This is not your normal way of drinking whisky,” Ms Katambo said.
“There are no rules on how to enjoy your Singleton. You don’t have to do neat if you will squinch. You’re not enjoying it,” she said.
The uptake has also been growing because of the versatility of how the drink is taken and the pairings which teach people how to mix it and pair it with food.
“This gives us the confidence that we can attract not even just female drinkers but new whisky drinkers, and those who whisky is not their first choice of drink,” Ms Katambo said.