There is no doubt that Kenyans drink. We are not known as the “drinking nation” for no reason. People often drown alcohol like nobody’s business. This is why there are bars and wines and spirits mushrooming from every corner of the country.
In Nairobi, for instance, every street, every corner has either a bar, a club, or a series of wines and spirits with different times of customers streaming in and out, enjoying themselves. Investing in selling alcohol is one of the most viable businesses right now.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the quantity of imported hard liquor jumped to 16.3 million liters in 2020, compared to 11.2 million liters of spirits that Kenyans brought into the country from overseas in 2019.
At the same time, data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) shows that the leading source of hard liquor in the United Kingdom, the home of Scotch whiskey, supplied Kenya with more than a third of its spirits in 2019.
To start a successful bar in Kenya (Nairobi), you need:
A series of licenses
There is a series of licenses that one needs to start a bar in Kenya. Without the licenses, you will never know peace from the authorities. The licenses needed are:
County single-business permit
Public health license
Fire clearance certificate
Music copyright of Kenya certificate
Performers Rights Society certificate
Currently, there are three levels of fees that one is needed to pay depending on the location of their business. For premises situated within a city or municipality, the fee is 30,000 for 6 months and 50,000 for 1 year. (County governments have different additional charges).
At the same time, for premises in urban areas that are not a city or a municipality, the fee is 18,000 for 6 months and 30,000 for a year. As for premises outside cities, municipalities, or urban areas, the fee is 9,000 for 6 months and 15,000 for a year.
The location has everything to do with the success or the failure of your business. Choose a place that is easily accessible and has little competition. Also, look at a premise that you can afford to pay rent and still keep the business running.
Where you get your supplies matters a lot. If you have the means, get your supplies from the EABL themselves or their depot. In fact, they will always deliver it to your doorstep if you make an arrangement with them and set specific days that you need to replenish your stock.
What are the challenges?
The police: These human beings will haunt you for no reason. You will have all the required papers but you will have to pay them “something small” daily to operate. You will never know peace if you turn them down.
Unfair competition: you need to study your competitors keenly. You will be left wondering why customers are going to your competitors only to find out they are selling beer half your price.