NIGERIA – Kensington Distillers and Vintners Limited (KDV), London-based beverage producer, has acquired the 1960 Rootz brand in form Monument Distillers Nigeria Limited owned by AB InBev.

The acquisition includes the state-of-the-art manufacturing plant used to produce 1960 Rootz, which according to KDV will soon be moved from AB InBev’s Port Harcourt production facility to Lagos where Kensington’s offices are based.

KDV which produces international brands Bannerman’s Finest Scotch Whiskey, Grace du Roi Fine Wine and Mazzatti Italian Beer, Kensington Distillers & Vintners said the transaction will also see the business incorporated as Monument Distillers.

However, Ajay Malhotra, Managing director at Monument Distillers Nigeria Limited, noted that the 1960 Rootz brand will remain unchanged.

“AB InBev built an extremely successful brand in 1960 Rootz, and we believe it has the potential to lead this uniquely Nigerian flavoured spirits category which grew by 21% from 2016 to 2017.

We won’t be changing anything – the brand’s much- loved taste will remain the sam,” he said.

Ajay said that the firm will continue to build on the success of the brand: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to continue to grow 1960 Rootz and for us to use our newly-formed Monument Distillers business to accelerate the growth of our international brands”

Kensington Distillers said that the new subsidiary, Monument Distillers will be launching a number of exciting new international brands in Nigeria soon under the guidance of respected board members, reports Beverage Industry News.

Notably, the board members include liquor industry veteran, Mark Bowman, who led SABMiller Africa across 18 African markets directly and a further 21 in partnership with the Castel Group.

Rowan Leibbrandt, who began his liquor industry career working across multiple European markets in a variety of commercial and marketing roles for William Grant & Sons and liquor giants, Pernod-Ricard is also on board.

Rowan pioneered the launch of KDV as well as contributed to the rapid growth of the South African liquor distributor, Truman & Orange.

More recently, Truman & Orange partnered with Kensington Distillers & Vinters to launch their range of privately-owned drinks, including Bannerman’s Scotch Whisky; Mazzatti Beers and Grace du Roi Sparkling Wines, among others in SA.

Other include Michael Ajukwu,a Monumental Distiller Board member and Olayemi Cardoso who serves as Chairman of Citibank Nigeria and Chairman of African Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA).