Cocktails fire up sale of whisky and cognac


Food & Drinks

Cocktails fire up sale of whisky and cognac


Mixologist Peter Kinyua (left) making a Mint Julep cocktail whereas being assisted by Macallan Single Malt Scottish Whisky Model Ambassador Sherlyne Muita at Ibury Lounge in Nairobi on October 7, 2021. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


  • To woo new drinkers who dislike harsh alcohol, Scotch and cognac makers add flavour to make it palatable.
  • Mixing cocktails at house was already a development earlier than the pandemic.
  • Regardless of whisky being perceived as an outdated man drink,  it’s more and more interesting to the younger.

Whisky will be off-putting, particularly to an untrained palate. However as Kenya turns into a brand new whisky frontier, drink corporations are pushing their manufacturers by instructing new shoppers a special means of having fun with spirits, in addition to neat and on the rocks.

Macallan, eyeing an even bigger share of the high-end single malt whisky market, is the most recent to faucet into the development of cocktails and combined drinks.

The Macallan has been in premium retailers since 2012 however it’s looking for to develop its gross sales and woo extra feminine and youthful whisky drinkers.

Sherlyne Muita, the Macallan model ambassador stated that they’re now refocusing on a brand new era of subtle shoppers.

“We noticed this mixer class rising fairly quickly over the previous few years. Shoppers aged 21 to 30 have been more and more consuming cocktails at house and we wish to faucet in that area of interest,” she stated.

In accordance with Ms Muita, the Macallan 12-year-old is made from triple forged and is extra of a recruiting form of drink and it’s simpler to make use of in cocktails.

“One can experiment with it and we wish to be among the many first nation’s doing it,” she stated.

For cognac maker Hennessy, Alexandre Helaine, the market supervisor Moët Hennessy Japanese Africa stated its cocktails present a singular consuming expertise that individuals worldwide have come to like.

“We see an appreciation for mixing Hennessy with comfortable drinks. To maintain the flavours and the style of the cognac, combine it with ginger ale or apple juice,” he stated.

When bars and eating places closed in the course of the pandemic, Hennessy launched an initiative dubbed #HennessyMyWay. Bartenders in Kenya and all over the world created Hennessy cocktails on-line.

In Kenya, 5 bartenders pushed the boundaries on creativity, making Hennessy cocktails with scrumptious twists with selfmade substances and syrups.

Mixing cocktails at house was already a development earlier than the pandemic. However the Covid-19 disaster, with lockdowns and on-premise closures, accelerated the development.

On resort menus, there are actually many timeless cocktails, together with gin and tonics, Moscow mules, margaritas, and daiquiris, amongst others. The cocktails haven’t solely sparked shopper curiosity but in addition boosted gross sales notably from youthful shoppers who need one thing completely different and aren’t as loyal to at least one specific spirit or model, stated John Mwangi, buyer advertising and marketing supervisor at Bacardi-Martini.

“Cocktails have undoubtedly boosted gross sales on-premise,” he stated.

“During the last three years, gross sales in bars and eating places have grown, each for traditional cocktails and common cocktails that includes stylish spirits and completely different substances,” he provides.

He stated that Bacardi-Martini, the maker of William Lawson, is rewriting the cocktail recreation within the Scotch blended whisky market.

“Historically, whisky didn’t a function prominently in cocktails. We got here in and began activations and occasions so that individuals can discover ways to take pleasure in whisky. Whisky was perceived as gentleman’s drink, form of a managed drink,” he stated.

Dan Mugo who’s a mixologist and a coach at Bacardi-Martini stated that after individuals tried a special form of cocktail, they stored coming again for extra.

Once they launched William Lawson, Mr Mwangi stated, their problem was extra of methods to change the mindset of drinkers that it was cheaper blended whisky, competing within the large whisky league.

“One key factor that labored for us is we enticed new entrants. We advised them to take the drink as they need. No guidelines. We realised that younger guys aren’t into the onerous stuff but,” he stated.

Regardless of whisky being perceived as an outdated man drink, Mr Mwangi stated that it’s more and more interesting to the younger.

“The outdated guys are discovering new and alternative ways of consuming whisky and we’re recruiting new drinkers by means of cocktails. As a result of when sampling onerous liquor for the primary time, it may be unpalatable that one avoids it. Cocktails ease individuals into the drink, they step by step fall in love with it,” he stated.

So what are the foundations of creating cocktails?

“The pandemic has modified the foundations of consuming; individuals wish to have a drink the best way they need, and in the perfect place attainable, at house. Beforehand, the best consumption occurred in bars and eating places,” Mr Mwangi stated.

Nonetheless, what’s stroking the urge for food of drinkers is the flavour and the way vibrant the cocktails are. And to make them as interesting as attainable, whisky makers are battling to coach bartenders on methods to make them.

On Wednesday, Kenya Breweries Restricted unveiled a Diageo Bar Academy, aimed toward enhancing bartenders’ functionality to supply high quality alcoholic drinks to shoppers.

The academy plans to coach 10,000 bartenders in eight months, an addition to the 6,000 they educated in February this yr, with two-thirds of them being ladies.

Joel Kamau, the industrial director stated a part of the coaching includes cocktail tendencies and steerage on protected bars re-opening. It should additionally practice disabled bartenders, in partnership with Sight Savers.

“The style and preferences of shoppers are evolving each day, there’s a must reskill bartenders forward of the vacations,” he stated.

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