UBL ups focus on high-end market

Bagpiper Allan Shuman (L) and whisky expert Allan Shuman take the guests through the different whiskies at Humura Hotel in Kampala last week. PHOTO BY ISMAIL MUSA LADU

What you need to know:

Wants. Brewer says initiative comes from growing middle class demands.


Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) has started a drive to lure the high-end market segment into consumption of some of its most exclusive brands.
This, the brewer says, partly explains its restructuring that will see some posts rendered redundant as other people make it into the company to fill the vacant positions.

According to UBL, known in Uganda for brands such as Bell, Guinness and Tusker, the latest initiative to popularise its range of expensive spirits like the Single Malt whiskies, arises from the growing middle class demands for a finer and exclusive lifestyle.

Company refocuses
“The organisation has to refocus in line with where it wants to go,” the managing director of UBL, Mr Nyimpini Mabunda, said last week during the launch of the first ever Single Malt Dinner hosted by Mr Swithin Munyantwali, a renowned lawyer and a businessman at his Humura Hotel last week.

He continued: “Most of our elites and the middle class are already going places. They are also more discerning as evidenced by the kind of cars they drive and the lifestyle they desire. So we are giving them something exclusive (a wide brand of exclusive whisky portfolio) that they will enjoy as they network and do business with each other.”

To achieve that objective (getting the very high-end market opting for its exclusive brands), Mr Munyantwali further argued that such marketing drives (dinners hosted for VVIP and such exclusive drinks served) are part of the strategy that the brewer will be promoting often with the view to consolidate the high-end segment—made up of middle class and successful business people.

Industry analysts are, however, already worried about the restructuring that UBL is set to enforce, saying it will cost Ugandans jobs at a time that they need them most.
Mr Mabunda, on his part, insisted that the restructuring is aimed at moving the company and its brands forward.
When asked about the market share, he said it’s difficult to tell because there is no independent verification for all firms.

However, it is understood that the competition (Nile Breweries Limited) commands a market share of between 55 to 60 per cent.