BUSINESS

Kenyan Originals wins big at World Beverage Innovation Awards


Kenyan Originals, the brand under the African Originals umbrella has won two awards at the prestigious World Beverage Innovation Awards in Germany. The company has emerged as the standout local producer of gin, ciders and mixers in Kenya.  

Kenyan Originals won the awards amongst other winners including AB-Inbev, Pepsico and Monin.

Kenya is the birthplace of a plethora of speciality and indigenous botanicals, yet until recently, no gins were distilled locally. Kenyan Originals has set to change that.

KO Classic gin is one of the first gins to be distilled in Kenya and won the award of “Best Alcohol Beverage” . It heroes a safari of botanicals from all corners of this diverse country and celebrates the best of Kenya.

Adventure through the foothills of Mount Kenya, where the handpicked Bulgarian rose grows at the perfect altitude for the delicate floral note in our gin. To the coastal town of Kilifi, where the bitter orange leaves give the gin a subtle herbaceous note. Along the coast line to Malindi where we source our licorice root, for depth and complexity. Onwards to the lush highlands of Kabati, where we pick the lemongrass for a fresh citrus vibrancy. And onto the rolling hills of Kinangop, where we source the most fragrant bay leaves and Naivasha, for our pink peppercorns for an aromatic spicy note. All distilled on our beautiful copper pot still for a spicy, fresh, complex, and crisp gin with defined flavours because of the special still we use. A beautiful flavour safari and expression of Kenya’s diversity.

Adding to the triumph, our innovative KO.lab with Muthaiga Tea, the KO Purple Haze gin, secured the title of “Best Premium Beverage.” Made by 2 originally Kenyan Brands for a unique collaboration – Kenyan Originals and Muthaiga Tea Company. A small batch of Purple Haze gin from Muthaiga Tea Company is made with the craft and care of the Kenyan Originals team. This is made with the lead botanical, purple tea, an indigenous tea to Kenya. This rare and unique Kenyan tea is said to have both black and green tea characteristics while boasting nearly twice the antioxidants of other teas. The purple tea itself is a dark colour, however, when brewed the leaves look almost green, with a slightly purplish tinge to the liquor. It leaves a smooth, slightly sweet taste and a subtle floral aroma.

The process of this gin is carefully designed to maximise flavour. In Purple Haze Gin, the botanicals, including the lead botanical Purple Tea, are macerated for one week before distillation and packed at 57% abv. The result is a surprisingly delicate, yet flavourful, navy strength gin.

This double win not only underscores our dedication to quality but also reinforces our position as a leading force in the African beverage landscape.

In the spirit of creativity and ingenuity, we secured two finalist positions at the awards; Our 58 gin stood out as a contender for “Best Beverage Concept,” while the traditional recipe in our KO Mango Chilli cider earned us recognition in the “Best Ingredient Innovation” category. 

KO stands for Kenyan Originals. ”We are Kenyan Originals because we originally source all our ingredients from Kenya, but also because we are inspired by the flavours and deeply ingrained food and beverage traditions in Kenya.” the company says in a statement. 

”We originally wanted to make fruit ciders to help reduce fruit waste and create value through a value added product with an 18 month shelf life. Our Mango & Chili cider flavour is inspired by the traditional mango & chilli snack eaten on the coast. For this we needed the most fragrant and delicious mangoes in Kenya. We purposefully chose the Apple Mango variant. Our apple mangoes, with a juicy yellow flesh, excellent flavour and a texture free from fibre, come directly from Makueni. Over 70% of Mangoes go to waste in Kenya due to lack of infrastructure, market, cold storage and processing solutions. This drink is authentically made sweet and has a kali kick.”

These accolades further solidify Kenyan Originals’ standing as a pioneer in the Kenyan beverage industry, challenging the dominance of imports.

”Originality is the very essence of the Kenyan Originals brand and we take immense pride in using natural, locally sourced botanicals and ingredients that resonate with our KO.nnoisseurs. Our products are a celebration of traditional African recipes, artfully blended with a modern twist that reflects the rich culture and individuality of our consumers.”

”We take pride in our ingenuity that has now earned a place at the table alongside some of the world’s renowned brands. As we continue to push boundaries and redefine the narrative, Kenyan Originals invites everyone to join us on this exhilarating journey of taste, culture, and innovation,” it adds.

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