Nairobi News


Hennessy boss speaks on new alcohol taxation, Kenya market

Hennessy Kenya last week hosted its Business Development Director for Africa, Europe and Middle East Patricia Le Gall who was in the country for a market visit.

Ms Le Gall’s visit was to celebrate the Kenyan market which she said is among the best performing in Africa, where stakeholders were treated to various cocktails of the luxurious cognac.

Gall comes at a time the government is planning to increase taxation on spirits and other alcoholic beverages. Nairobi News reporter Thomas Matiko sat down with Le Gall at Kempinski Hotel for a conversation on her trip.

Q: Your visit coincides with the announcement by the government to increase taxes on alcoholic beverages like your brand by 15 percent. How will this affect your operations?

A: We can’t predict the future, but having said that, we are a premium brand and we trust if our consumers continue believing in us then they will be able to overcome how these new taxes will affect them in the choice of the brand.

Q: Aren’t you scared of losing a number of clients because with the taxes, prices will definitely have to go up?
A: We have had the chance to have loyal consumers here in Kenya and we hope we will maintain them as we have in the last 8 generations of our cognac.

Q: What has the experience of your brand been like since its launch in Kenya?
A: Absolutely amazing. We have been in Kenya for over a century, since 1898 and therefore we have had a special connection with Kenya in these very many years.

Q: How important is the Kenyan market to the brand?
A: Very important because Kenya is currently our third largest market in the continent after South Africa and Nigeria and the first in East Africa.

Q: How is the Kenyan market in comparison to South Africa and Nigeria?
A: Kenya is significantly growing faster and this makes it extremely important to us. We are putting much focus and investment in improving our operations here.

Q: You are a well-established global brand, why do you need constant marketing of the product?
A: It’s important to remain relevant at all times and it also helps us to get the necessarily insights from the market on how further we can improve because we are not consumed the same way in each region.

Q: As one of the global spirit brands in Kenya, how do you handle your competition?
A: Competition is a good thing because it pushes us to improve but also offer options to the consumers. There is always room and space for everyone. We handle the competition by maintaining the cultural relevance and having good partners in distribution and campaign awareness.