Most Kenyans have a strong preference for beers when compared to other alcoholic drinks, which can be attributed to the authentic taste, relatively affordable prices, and widespread availability in most alcoholic drinks’ retailers. Although there was a strong decline in overall consumption in 2020 due to the pandemic in the initial stages, there was a notable recovery in 2021 retail volume sales as the pandemic restrictions subsided.
Consumer incomes declined in 2020 as the pandemic dealt a strong blow to the Kenyan economy and so many consumers were unable to afford beer brands such as Pilsner, White Cap, Tusker malt and Tusker light, due to their relatively high price. Consumers in low-income groups have subsequently shifted towards cheaper brands such as Balozi offered in larger formats and Senator Keg.
The pandemic negatively affected beer consumption due to the closure of social places such as bars and restaurants which is where beer is largely consumed. Consumers shifted to easier on-and-go formats such as cans, which enabled them to consume beer in situations and occasions most convenient to them.
The consumption of keg beer increased in 2021 as consumers switched to cheaper beer and moved away from bottled beers. The pandemic weakened incomes curbing consumer expenditure and as such keg beer grew in popularity.
Leading industry players suffered from the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Keroche Breweries, Kenya’s second-largest beer maker has been facing a cash crisis after it defaulted on a tax repayment plan and ran into salary arrears by more than two months.
The beer category will continue to recover from the harsh decline in retail volume sales in 2020 reaching total pre-pandemic volumes in 2022, although the on-trade will take slightly longer for consumption levels to resume. Consumers are gradually returning to pubs and restaurants following the easing of restrictions, lifting of curfews and stay at home directives, which was used to curb the spread of the virus.
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An alcoholic drink usually brewed from malt, sugar, hops and water and fermented with yeast. Some beers are made by fermenting a cereal, especially barley, and therefore not flavoured by hops. Alcohol content for beer is varied – anything up to and over 14% ABV (alcohol by volume), although 3.5% to 5% is most common. Beer is the aggregation of lager, dark beer, stout and non/low alcohol beer.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Beer research and analysis database.
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