Raheem Akingbolu writes that maiden edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival would go a long way in redefining the relationship between alcoholic beverages and their consumers
Brewers in the country, especially Nigerian Breweries, Campari and Guinness Nigeria Plc, took activation a notch higher recently when they leveraged on the platform provided by the maiden edition of Nigeriaâ€™s version of the global Beer Festival, to boost consumersâ€™ experience about beer consumption. The event, which was held in Lagos from September 25 to October 1, 2017, was used to create maximum excitement during the week-long fiesta. It climaxed with the Independence Day Mega Concert that was used to commemorate Nigeriaâ€™s independence.
For Lagos State, the nationâ€™s commercial city that hosted the maiden edition to stimulate its economic and tourism potentials, it was a significant event, considering the huge human traffic witnessed while the festival lasted. Aside other benefits, the platform helped Lagos to showcase her uniqueness and other business opportunities. The state had collaborated with beer brewers in the country and their counterparts across the globe to create maximum excitement while the event lasted. The state also provided massive institutional support, particularly security, transport and related logistics.
According to the management of One and One Event (001) Limited, the organisers and management of the festival, it was used to promote responsible drinking among drinking age (which is 18 years and above) consumers at all its touch points, to give it a carnival atmosphere from Day 1 to the last day. By the last day, this was not only achieved, it turned out to be the gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond.
The organisers further stated that the festival saw Nigeria enrolled into the league of beer festivals around the world, and boosted the countryâ€™s tourism opportunities.
General Manager of 001, Akinola Oluwaleimu, revealed that the world-acclaimed Oktoberfest (Beer Festival) in Munich, Germany, attracts more than 50,000 tourists yearly, while other countries in Europe and America have caught the bug.
â€˜â€™With this edition as a lunch pad, we can assure Nigerians that Nigeria Beer Festival will continue to be an annual carnival week of entertainment, sales and marketing and a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond with economic value for the brands and the economy at large,â€™â€™ Oluwaleimu assured.
Beyond advocating responsible drinking, the festival provided an ambience to showcase fashion and lifestyle, as well as culture in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria connecting with their existing and potential consumers.
Brand managers are always eager to leverage on platforms that would give them opportunities to engage their consumers. No wonder, the management of Nigerian Breweries, Campari and Guinness explored the platform to give their consumers fresh experience. They literally took activation a notch higher throughout the event.
For instance, Nigeria Breweries used the platform to excite consumers with a mini brewery instituted at the venue. Guinness branded the venue with large bottles of Harp and other products from the stable while Campari used the place to share its products with consumers free as well as entertaining the audience with its brand ambassador â€“2baba.
Nigerian Breweries revved up the excitement and fun at the event by the arrays of its leading brands and the display of the Star brewing process at the venue of the event.
The mini brewery (Sensor Room) was on display to showcase the process of brewing Star Lager Beer from the grain to glass.
This attracted participants at the event who affirmed that Nigerian Breweries has the most visible and exciting branding with its products available for exhibition and tasting.
Apart from the conspicuous branding of the arena with Star, the other beer brands from the company became the toast of the teeming crowd.
A group of Chinese nationals that were at the Nigerian Breweries stand with the Heineken brand said they are very much passionate about the product because of its flavour and aroma which is not found in others.
Kelvin Lee, one of the Chinese nationals said: â€œThe taste of beer, the world over, is almost the same, but Heineken is different and l derive utmost satisfaction from it. I am also attracted to it because it is produced by an industry leader.â€
Andrew Ado, a Ghanaian, a consumer of Star Lager Beer said he likes the companyâ€™s products because of the value he derived for his money. â€œI believe in quality and go for things that offer the right value for money, and these are what Nigerian Breweries stands for,â€ he said.
Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries, Kufre Ekanem, explained that the companyâ€™s involvement in the beer festival is to reinforce the culture of beer as a social lubricant, which brings people from diverse backgrounds to unite in enjoyment through responsible drinking.
He added that the Nigeria Beer Festival provided a fitting ambience to showcase lifestyle as well as culture in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands connecting with their existing and potential consumers.
This culture touch point is in line with the view of social scientists that that beer is among the symbolic vehicles for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural values and interpersonal relationships. They classify different alcoholic beverages in terms of their social and cultural meanings.
For Campari, a global renowned premium bitters and classic alcoholic drink, the maiden edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival afforded its promoters to give consumers opportunity to relish the vibrant hue, intense aroma and inspiring flavour of Campari in-bar cocktails mixed by professional mixologists. Brand Manager Campari, Rilwan Shofunde, in his remarks about Campariâ€™s participation at the Beer Festival, said the brand lived up to its promise of not only providing superior quality cocktail base, but also to create stylish yet unique drinking experiences for consumers.
â€˜â€™It is in support of our beer-drinking culture that we participated in the very first Nigeria Beer Festival, so as to encourage our fans and consumers to keep enjoying mixing Campari with their preferred beer brand. This is the true spirit behind our â€˜Campari Loves Beerâ€™ mantra,â€ Shofunde said.
Also speaking, the brand ambassador, 2baba, otherwise called â€˜Mr. Campariâ€™ said he was always delighted to share the excitement and passion of Campari drink with his fans anytime, anywhere. â€˜â€™As the number one lover of Campari myself, I was at the Nigeria Beer festival to support our mixologists in showing them the true meaning of â€˜Campari Loves Beer,â€ he added.
At the beginning
Beer is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the fifth millennium BC and recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Chemical tests of ancient pottery jars reveal that beer was produced as far back as about 7,000 years ago in what is today Iraq
According to findings, during the Industrial Revolution, the production of beer moved from artisanal manufacture to industrial manufacture. The finding also revealed that domestic manufacture ceased to be significant by the end of the 19th century.
Alcohol has long been regarded as a social leveler, and the act of communal drinking as a means of communication among people of different ranks and status in society.
Asides, major life-cycle events such as birth, coming-of-age, marriage and death; important life-changes such as graduation or retirement – all require ritual of endorsement and celebration and beer is always at the centre.
Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. More than 133 billion liters (35 billion gallons) are sold per yearâ€”producing total billions of naira in revenue.
In Africa, the beer market has grown significantly in South Africa, followed by Nigeria and Angola.Today, beer is celebrated all over the world and in some countries; it has assumed the status of a special day for celebration and enjoyment.
Nigeria Beer Festival 2017
To keep the scene active in Nigeria and to further open up the economy, beer brewers in the country for the first time collaborated with their counterparts across the globe to hold a maiden Nigerian Beer Festival in Lagos.
Like in Germany, where the festival has become a major touristâ€™s event, attracting over 50,000 tourists yearly to the â€œoktoberfestâ€ beer festival, other countries in Europe and America are catching the bug. The Nigeria version, according to the organisers, saw Nigeria enrolled into the league of Beer Festivals around the World
â€œ Other notable countries are Czech Republic, Canada, Durham, Columbia, Britain, Belgium, among others. â€œNigeria Bear Festival will be a week-long carnival-like funfair, entertainment, sales and marketing event with the idea to gather the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond with economic value for the brands and the economy at large,â€ the organisers said.
The Germany festival commonly referred to as Munich Beer Festival or Oktoberfest is famous not only because it is a carnival, but because it retains the integrity of Bavaria custom and lifestyle. People enjoy delicious food at the festival and as well participate in series of colorful recreational activities like horse racing, shooting, juggling and various theatrical performances.
The Nigerian festival, therefore, will henceforth serve as platform to showcase and market the various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria, while at the same time creating leverages for captains of industry to mingle and network.
Each of participating brands has the opportunity to own particular days during the week to entertain the teeming visitors at the festival. Variety of beer brands will be available for tasting and purchase in a carnival like atmosphere.
A selection of top Nigerian artistes performed daily at the festival. Also, fashion show, music concerts, fireworks display, carnival, lifestyle, barbeque, asun, beer beautified the atmosphere at the venue.
It is also important to note that the festival served as umbrella for other sectors of the economy to display their products and services which attracted business networking.
Beer Growth Rates
Canadean survey found that more African consumers will change their home brewed drinks for commercially brewed ones over the coming years.
â€œAt the moment, homemade alcohol products still dominate the African market, but they pose a significant health risk. This is an incentive for consumers to move away from â€˜home brewsâ€™ and instead turn to commercial beer,â€ said Baker.
Protecting under-age from the beer festival
According to Ekom, the festival will not allow an under-age. â€œIn fact, there are mechanisms that will be used to check this and the event will also be used to preach responsible drinking among adults,â€ she said.
Contribution to the economy
The beer industry is a large segment of the food and beverages sub-sector. It constitutes the non-oil sector where Nigeria is leveraging on to drive her economic diversification programme.
Having evolved from bottling to a diversified industry involved in the production of canned drinks and the use of tetra pack, the sector accounted for 35.9 per cent of the growth in the industrial sector, which grew in 2014 by 6.41 per cent as against 0.87 per cent in 2013.
Nigerian Breweries Plc has the largest coverage, with about eight breweries located across the country and estimated yearly capacity of 13.5 million hectoliters (mn hl).
Guinness operates four breweries with a total yearly capacity of 7.5mn hl by 2014. SABM has built up its capacity (by acquisition) to about 1.8mn hl, which includes Pabod Breweries in Port Harcourt, International Breweries in Ilesa and Onitsha.
Experts said the beer sector is very well positioned to galvanise the economy through industrialisation. Brewery companies, whose principal activities include the production, packaging and sales of alcoholic and malt beverages, employ close to one million people.