A new line of flavoured alcoholic beverages hit the shelves this past week with the launch of the Arada hard seltzer cocktail drinks line from Komari Beverages Plc. The sugar-free drinks have an alcohol content of five percent and are available in three flavours; pineapple-grapefruit, apple, and lime.

The company has been developing the product for around three years, and it put a lot of effort into market research, according to Amity Weiss, chief executive officer of Komari.

The marketing team collected input from thousands of people on the kinds of drinks they enjoy and what flavours they would be interested in. Komari brought in international experts to develop 12 different flavours for the hard seltzer drinks because it is a flexible drink in terms of flavouring.

"We want to be able to produce flavours with Ethiopians and their own choices," Amity told Fortune.

The contents of the beverages are made locally, except for the flavouring, which Komari is importing for the time being. However, the company plans to make it locally, according to the CEO.

Komari has the capacity to produce 27,000 bottles an hour at its manufacturing facility in Cheke, Amhara Regional State, 100Km away from Addis Abeba, near Debre Berhan. The company distributes its beverages from the three warehouses it owns in the capital. It incorporated in 2017 with 26 million dollars, with most of equity raised from investors in Germany, becoming the 12th alcoholic beverage producer in the country.

The Arada hard seltzer drinks go for anywhere between 30 Br and 50 Br, depending on where the product is available.

Komari, which employs 132 people, faced some challenges in product development mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were delays in bringing in technical experts from China, and the company also had to cut back on the scale of product testing.

When new entrants join the market with thorough research and with users’ perspectives, it becomes easy for them to blend in with other existing products, says Ermias Teshome, a marketing and communications consultant with 15 years of experience.

“The brand has been well thought of and in development for a while now," said Ermias. "This is what all types of industries should aim for when bringing in new items or introducing products to the market."

The new consumer-driven products will be a breath of fresh air for the domestic alcoholic beverage industry, which has been impacted by the ban on advertising on broadcast platforms.

"As new alcoholic products emerge, there will be competition, leading to quality products at better prices," said Ermias.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 24,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1095]

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