Surging numbers of illegal alcohol manufacturers are exposing millions of Kenyan consumers to health risks such as substance poisoning. It is the poorest of the poor in society who provide an immediate market for the uninspected alcoholic beverages which often contain lethal compounds.
We have received reports from various distributors and distillers across the country, who have raised valid concerns about some of their popular brands being illegally repackaged and sold to unsuspecting consumers by unscrupulous traders.
Sachets and unapproved brands are sold directly to retailers. Unscrupulous alcohol traders have been counterfeiting KEBS quality marks by using already used bottles of established manufacturers to package their illicit products.
Among the products being sold are brands like Metropolitan Gin; Kingston Vodka; Simba Waragi; Shakers Vodka; Dolphin Vodka; Empire Cane Spirit, among others.
Over 50 per cent of all alcoholic outlets in Kenya sell fake or adulterated products to unsuspecting clients. More than 900 unlicensed factories in the country that manufacture these brews.
The spike in production and consumption of illicit alcohol has been fueled by individuals who seem to be colluding with corrupt law-enforcing officers to facilitate the peddling of substances that do not meet the standards required by law.
From our in-house research and reports, the following areas have been identified as breeding grounds for manufacturing of illicit alcohol:
- In the Central Kenya region, the proliferation is rampant in Murang’a, Karatina, Sagana Embu, Meru, Nanyuki, Nyeri and in villages where it is believed law enforcement agencies do not to patrol regularly.
- Kiambu County- Thika town and its surroundings.
- Nakuru County - Nakuru town and its outskirts.
- Narok County - Fake products are being sold in large quantities as well as sachets from Uganda are available freely in the market despite government regulation on minimum packaging of 250ml.
- Machakos County - Areas affected include Kitui, Tala, Wote town , Salama, Simba town and generally along Mombasa Road to as far as Mtito Andei
- Western and Nyanza regions- areas affected include Kisumu County’s Stage area, Kondele and Nyalenda. Other areeas include Busia, Serem, Siaya Kakamega, Kendu Bay, Kericho and Oyugis.
- The illegal alcohol has also been on sale along the Kenya-Uganda border with some penetrating into the country.
Genuine alcoholic manufacturers do not just suffer the loss associated with production of second generation alcoholic products. They lose revenues as dubious dealers still hold onto 30 per cent market share of the alcoholic multi-billion industry. The loss and destruction of illegitimate alcohol business has seen genuine investors losing an estimated tens of millions daily.