Nairobi News


Beware! Sale of fake alcohol on the rise in city bars

Nairobi revelers have reason to worry at the quality of alcohol being sold in the capital.

Details have emerged how racketeers have managed to establish parallel distribution networks in Nairobi for the sale of counterfeit brands in pubs and shops.

The racketeers are reaping millions by targeting premium brands as well as low cost brands.

So formidable is the network that even frequent raids by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on their premises have failed to tame the tide of counterfeit alcohol flowing in the city.

Just last month, taxman announced a set of workshops to sensitise bar owners and police in the drive to curb the sale of counterfeit alcohol.


According to Kenya Breweries Limited head of spirits Ann Joy Muhoro, who spoke to Nairobi News, it is not easy for consumers to know if they are paying for a genuine brand.

The company even has an App, Soma Label, to help consumers scan and determine authenticity of a drink before consuming it.

“We have a good relationship with the government and the regulator and what we would ask consumers to do is download the App which can help you know whether what you are consuming is genuine,” said Ms Muhoro.

Problem is the App takes more than 20 minutes to scan drinks on offer.

But Ms Muhoro explained that the poor lighting in bars could be why the App takes long to authenticate drinks.


“We would like the investigators to come to us with factual information in what is true and what is not, because sometimes on social media things spread out and it might not be as accurate as might be,” she added.

A lobby group, Futa Magendo Action Network (FMAN), has been urging government to act tough on the  intricate web of racketeers involved in ethanol smuggling and use of fake KRA stamps to evade tax.

In January, it wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta on unscrupulous traders importing illicit ethanol through the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The cartel was also said to be importing untaxed raw spirit from Tanzania.