This weekend saw Kgalagadi Breweries launch Peroni Nastro Azzuro, a premium beer brewed in Italy for the last forty years.
Peroni comes in the wake of KBL’s attempts to reclaim the top end of the market after it lost the marketing of Amstel early in the year.
The Group, which is part of the world’s leading brewer, SAB Miller, has in the recent past seen itself lose market ground, chipped off by little known spirits and other clear beer brands imported into Botswana.
Though still by far the market leader in Botswana, KBL is well aware of fast encroaching competition.
National Sales Manager, Sesupo Wagamang, has called the launch of Peroni the first among many strategies of revival towards reclaiming the top end market.
In no small way KBL has felt the pinch of competition from high end brands, such as Heineken and Windhoek lager, products of the increasingly buoyed Namibia Breweries.
Wagamang notes that when they phased out Amstel, their competitors moved in to fill the void.
Introducing Peroni in the market is, therefore, seen as a natural way not only of claiming back consumers that KBL previously owned but also claiming what KBL believes is an ever growing top end market.
This growth has not only been noticed by KBL. A short interview with restaurant owners in Gaborone reveals that a culture of eating out and consuming top end brands is indeed developing in Botswana, a trend which most traders believe is driven not only by receding inflation levels but also the infusion of foreign cultures.
Families, couples and singles are beginning to eat out more.
The tasting session held at Grand Palm seems to bear testimony to the change in taste and culture that KBL is taking advantage of; a lot of those who attended the session ended up drinking beer for the first time. Most of these first timers were women who claim that the taste of Peroni is pleasant to the tongue and not as bitter as most beers, the men also had their praise for the product, it is smooth and does not look tacky.
And the verdict? A smooth tasting beer with class.
Even though Peroni is new to Botswana the brand was created in the 1960s by Italian Carlo Peroni, the recipe is a closely guarded secret known to only one brewer, Birra Peroni.
SAB Miller bought a majority interest in Birra Peroni and re-launched Peroni in 2005 as a retro beer in not only its taste but also the design of the bottle. KBL intends to make the beer available in lounges and top end nightclubs at first, before rolling it out to other outlets.
Peroni is, however, not the end of Kgalagadi Breweries strategy to reignite it’s top end market. Even though he did not reveal much, Wagamang has warned beer drinkers, both potential and current to keep watching this space.