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Excitement as Kenyan takes Muratina to UK supermarkets

May 11th, 2021 2 min read

In 2018, the then Kikuyu Principle Magistrate D N Musyoka recognised muratina as part of the Kikuyu traditional customs and ruled that brewing and drinking Muratina during traditional ceremonies was not illegal.

Now King’ori Wambaki, an Othaya-born Kenyan has carved out a niche in the United Kingdom from selling the local brew Muratina, which he markets as wine spiced with honey under the name Muratelia.

The alcohol concentration of 12 percent is sold in the UK to customers under the age of 35.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu on Sunday confirmed in a tweet that the alcoholic drink is now available for sale in London.

“The central Kenyan traditional alcoholic drink ‘Muratina’ is now available on UK supermarket shelves, bottled in the UK by Othaya-born businessman King’ori Wambaki, now of Cheshunt, north of London, who is targeting the expansion of Kenyan products in the UK market,” he said on Twitter.

In his ruling, the magistrate added that the constitution has a mandate to protect the cultures of all tribes in Kenya and no law created can infringe upon those cultural practices.

“They have to celebrate their traditional rites of passage through various ways and muratina (Agikuyu traditional brew) must form part of the celebrations,” Mr Musyoka said in his judgment.

The big debate in all this was the legality of the traditional brews of the various communities that make up the citizenry of the country.

It is important to note that the court made no mention on the commercial sale of muratina.

The magistrate restricted his judgement only for the purposes of traditional ceremonies such as payment of dowry, marriage and initiation into adulthood.

In UK, the drink comes in a beautiful black and gold champagne-like bottle and is described as a refreshing beverage that pairs with red meat and salad to offer a sweetened velvet sensation of exotic fruits and honey, according to an inscription on the bottle.

Wambaki told a UK-based blog that the drink- made with UK-sourced ingredients and condiments has been well-received in the European market.

“Cheshunt is a town outside of London. We used ingredients that were readily available in the UK because we had not yet reached the point where we could import products from Kenya,” said Wambaki.

The wine retails at an equivalent of between Sh1,500 and Sh3,800.