The Local Nigerian Market
Among the frontline customers of these choice drinks are travellers from the cities to the rural areas. Signposts are usually placed by the roadside to inform potential buyers that palm wine and Ogogoro are available for sale.
In parts of south-eastern Nigeria, and elsewhere in Central and Western Africa palm wine is largely consumed. It is enjoyed by men and women, although women usually drink it in less public venues. The demand is high in these areas because Palm wine plays a very important role in many traditional ceremonies among the traditional peoples. A young man who is going for the first introduction at his in-laws’ house is required to bring palm wine with him, along with some bottles of gin. There are varying gallons of palm wine required, depending on the customs of the different regions, particularly among the Igbos in Nigeria. Guests at weddings, birth celebrations, and funeral wakes are served substantial quantities of these drinks. As a token of respect to deceased ancestors, many drinking sessions begin with a small amount of palm wine or gin, spilled on the ground. This culture can be observed in a similar fashion in the neighbouring English-speaking north-western regions of Cameroon.
Palm wine is also often infused with medicinal herbs to remedy a wide variety of physical ailments.
In Nigeria, the different brands of Palm wine such as “nkwu”, “ngwo”, and others command slightly different prices.
Local sweet Palm wine is produced from only the best palm trees and bottled in 35cl. It is served chilled and fresh bottles. The wine happens to be a sparkling beverage tapped from the juice of the tropical palm trees indigenous to Africa, particularly Southern Nigeria. It looks akin to champagne and can rejuvenate the body. It has low alcoholic content (11%) and will not make a person dead-drunk unlike whiskey and other spirits that result in a devastating hangover the day after. Palm wine is a wonderful local beverage that contains yeast and probiotic properties that make it beneficial for health purposes as well.
The Nigerian Palm wine faces competition from brands from other parts of Africa where the sap used to create palm wine is most often taken from a variety of sources such as the wild date palms, the palmyra and the jiggery palm. In the central and southern Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are up to four brands of palm wine obtainable from the oil palm: “ngasi”, “dibondo” comes from the raffia palm, “cocoti” from the coconut palm, and “mahusu” from a short palm which grows in the savannah areas of western Bandundu and Kasai and provinces.
Nevertheless, given that Nigerians constitute the highest population among Africans in Diaspora, the Nigerian Palm wine brands are the most consumed, especially in USA and Europe.
This is not to say that there are no other strong brands out there. A number of the Latin and Central American countries have come up with very strong globally competitive brands that equally compete favourably with the Nigerian brands. Cambodia is one such countries.
Palm wine imported for wholesale from Cambodia or other well-known producing countries usually comes in a beautiful bottle with an attractive stopper. The packaging label bears the following description: ‘PALM WINE ORIGINAL 11% ALC., VOL. 500ML. Other promotional, packaging features of palm-wine brands obtainable from Cambodia are as follows:
Product Type: Wine
Place of Origin: Cambodia
Brand Name: Jaya
Alcohol Content (%): 11
Model Number: FG-WIN3111
Packaging Details: carton
Prices of some of the African Wine/ Gin/ Beer/ Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Interestingly, the existing prices of African Beers are in the range of those of the foreign-made beer brands such as Larger, Heineken and Hero.
Local Palm wine Prices in Nigeria are averagely about N3, 000 or $5.00/ bottle of 35 litres. In the international market, it sells for about $7.00/ bottle. It reportedly has a competitive edge in terms of peculiar taste and relative price (in comparison to other global brands).
The Cambodian equivalent is sold at a slightly higher rate; for $23.70 for 3 Cartons, and there are 12 bottles in a carton.
The prices of Gin (Ogororo) are over five times the prices of Beer for the same content; the reason being that Palm wine is usually diluted with water while the local gin is often concentrated.
Against this competitive backdrop, and given also that the Nigerian Palm wine and Gin and Beer are proudly significant brands, there is a need for a strong promotion capable of unleashing this value-chain into the international market.