From Cîroc vodka to Johnnie Walker Blue Label – how we are building luxury spirits in Africa

Jane Birkin, General Manager Africa Reserve, recently joined a panel of luxury experts at the Africa Luxury Forum to talk about ‘How we’re making it in Africa: strategies for success’. Here she shares her insights with us.


Michito Kaneko World Class

Japan's Michito Kaneko, winner of World Class 2015

Jane said, “Last year Africa saw the second fastest growth of ultra-high net worth individuals and we passionately believe that our Reserve brands can lead the way in luxury drinking experiences across the continent and shape the future of the luxury spirits industry in Africa.

"In Nigeria and South Africa for example, we have expanded our team of brand ambassadors who are responsible for introducing bartenders to our brands, driving trends and developing advocates for our brands and serves in bars restaurants and hotels.”

Last summer, Diageo World Class, the drinks industry's largest, most influential and respected mixology competition was held in South Africa. Taking place in Africa for the first time, the event showcased brands such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Ketel One vodka, Tanqueray Ten and Cîroc vodka.

"Cîroc is a stand-out star when it comes to mass luxury brands in Africa," explaine Jane. "We have used key regional influencers like Banky W, a well-known Nigerian music artiste, and David Thiale, a respected South African fashion designer, to drive engagement with consumers. Today Cîroc is seen as the upcoming icon of luxury celebrations at high-end bars and top clubs in major cities across Africa."

“Going forward our strategy will remain focused on building strong luxury brands that appeal to the modern emerging middle class consumer, using social experiences to drive engagement, but underpinned by sound commercial basics and partnerships to ensure that these mass luxury brands are available to consumers and executed in luxury style”, concluded Jane.