Kenyan Originals: Meet Tycoon Behind Booming Local Beer

  • Photo collage of local made beverage and beer drinks made by Kenyan Originals
    Photo collage of local made beverages and beer drinks made by Kenyan Originals
    Courtesy
  • Kenya's liquor industry has been booming majorly because of the partying and outgoing culture of most citizens. 

    The culture has continued to attract investors from across the world with most of them launching different liquor brands and flavours. One of the little-known companies that has established its roots in the country is Kenyan Originals.

    Inspired by a local traditional brew known as Muratina, the company was launched in 2018 by a foreign female tycoon known as Alexandra Chappatte.

    Chappatte left a high-paying job in West Africa where she worked for many years for a French Alcoholic beverages giant, Pernod Ricard - which is famous for making alcoholic brands such as Jameson, Chivas, Martell, and Regal among others.

    Female tycoon Alexandra Chappatte who founded Kenyans Original back in 2018
    Female tycoon Alexandra Chappatte who founded Kenyans Original back in 2018
    File

    She channeled all the experiences she had gained working for French brew bistros to launch the now booming Kenyan Originals.

    The company, which is based in Baba Dogo, Ruaraka, offers consumers authentic craft beverages, non-alcoholic drinks, and alcoholic drinks manufactured using strictly locally sourced ingredients such as pineapples, lime, passion, mangoes, and tea.

    Her value addition chain in agriculture is further exhibited by her sourcing of other ingredients such as cucumber, hibiscus, mint, ginger, and rose flowers among others from local farmers in different parts of the country.

    Kenyan Originals has over 10 flavours in the market ranging from ciders, mixers and tonic, iced tea, and a wide range of spirits.

    At the moment, the processing plant produces over three tonnes of fruit monthly and has a production capacity of over 2,000 bottles daily.

    Chappatte recently spotted an opportunity in the market launching the Honey Cider which contains lemon and ginger.

    "How do you create a safer and legal version of Muratina because people love it? That is why we developed the concept into one of a fermented base that is then blended with local sourced fruit," the female tycoon stated in a past interview.

    "Ultimately, we want to create Kenya's version of wine, it is about making sure you have great quality fruit but from the right region and with the right variety."

    Chappatte, who is not a newbie in the industry, has also created employment for more than 100 people, a majority of whom are from the low income areas.

    Since its launch, Kenyan Originals has surpassed Ksh107.8 million annual turnover, making a mark for itself.

    The different flavours target millennials, with those above 25 years of age being the main target consumers. This explains why their beverages are not found in just any other local ordinary bars.

    "At the core, there are the mavericks of Nairobi, the independent thinkers who are pushing the boundaries of what Kenyan youth is about," Chappatte stated in a past interview.

    The multi-million company, which began its operations from a shipping container is, however, still grappling with the challenges of distribution.

    "We are going for direct distribution rather than working with a lot of distributors. We still want to work with some stockists but we want to find new smart ways to get to the shops."

    In fours years time, Kenyan Originals is projected to hit an annual turnover of Ksh1 billion.

    File photo of a beer and beverage drinks Kenyan Originals with pineapples used to make the drinks
    File photo of a beer and beverage drinks Kenyan Originals with pineapples used to make the drinks
    File
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