Christmas is Nigeria’s ‘unofficial’ party season and major drink brands in the country are part of the reason behind that.
After all, what party is complete without a drink or two?
A look at the event calendar for December shows that major drink brands have partnered with event planners and big artists for some of the amazing concerts.
From Hennessy Artistry Grande Finale to Pepsi’s ‘Disemba’ line of events, there is always a major brand associated with a big concert.
So why do these drink brands sponsor these concerts?
For the drink brands, the competition is always on who can make more sales. Drink brands like Hennessy, Johnnie Walker, Remy Martin and the rest leverage on these Christmas concerts as an avenue to sell off their products. It is normal to find vendors with stalls at these concerts selling drinks.
From the posters, banners, radio, TV and outdoor advertorials that precede these concerts, more consumers begin to see and hear about the brands sponsoring these concerts. Christmas concerts have become like an advertorial showcase for these brands and it is interesting to see more and more brands jump on the roller coaster although there seems to be a bit of ‘copy-catting’ in this aspect.
Concerts create a unique identity for the drink brands. While Hennessy Artistry uses the avenue of music as a testimony to its unique blending style; At the Club with Remy Martin reveals the brand’s identity as enchanting cognac to enjoy in clubs and parties.
To each drink brand, its own identity and all are targeted to tuning in with the consumer base that tandems with its identity.
Some of the artists like Falz, Wizkid, Davido, Olamide, Timaya are celebrity ambassadors of most of these drink brands. It goes without saying that the brands will key into any concert organised by any of its ambassadors.
Smirnoff showed a good example when it partnered, alongside Pepsi for DJ Spinall’s Album party which held recently at the Oriental Hotel.
Music and drinks are wonderful companions when it comes to partying. There is a saying among social circles that “a glass or two helps you to understand the music better.” Drinks brands tag with these concerts to create the right experiential atmosphere for lovers and potential customers to interact with their products. For drink brands, Christmas concerts are like an open playground to build the fun side of their products on.
Vodka and gin are two of the world’s most popular spirit drinks, most notable for their clarity of the liquor in the bottle as opposed to whisky and brandy.
Many alcohol lovers do not give a care about what each of these spirit drinks are made of, least of all the artistic excellence put into distilling these drinks.
Although all of these drinks, whether it is vodka, rum, tequila, gin, bourbon, whiskey or cognac, have a unique history, there is a striking difference between them. The difference notwithstanding, there is still some form of similarity between them, especially in terms of production.
The major difference between spirits is in the raw materials used in the production. However, no matter the basis of the liquid, all spirit drinks must go through a distillation, and later aging process to arrive at the finished product.
The same thing goes for vodka and gin, two spirit drinks that form the basis for most cocktail mixes in the world.
While you may not be a liquor connoisseur, it is important to know the difference between the two distilled spirits.
What is Vodka?
Linked with roots to 14th century Russia, vodka is a neutral spirit traditionally lacking a distinctive character, aroma, taste or colour. However, with recent evolving trends, most vodka brands now have products with fruits flavour and aroma.
Derived from Voda, the Russian word for water, vodka in Russian means ‘little stream’. It has the characteristics of a colorless liquid, clear and smooth. It is a pure spirit with a neutral taste. It is generally distilled from the mixtures of potatoes or grains. It can also be made from corn, wheat or even more unconventional items such as grapes.
This is one of the heaviest drink which has 40% of alcohol content. In the European Union, the standard is set to 37.5% but in Nigeria, the limit remains 40% and sometimes higher.
What is Gin?
Gin is flavoured spirit that is produced by re-distillation of a high proof neutral spirit with juniper berries and other flavouring agents. Its origin is traced back to 17th century Holland.
The history of gin dates back to the 11th century, where monks were known to flavor crude distilled drinks with juniper berries and it was also unsuccessfully used as remedy for the black plague. However, the origin of the drink is credited to Franciscus de la Boe (known as Doctor Sylvius); a seventeenth century physician and professor of medicine at the University of Leyden.
It was first named Genièvre by Boe in relation to the French word for Juniper berry, but English distillers shortened it to Gin in the late 17th century.
Gin gets its flavour from the whatever product it is re-distilled from, and is produced mostly in United Kingdom, Holland and the United States. The four distinct varieties of gin include London Dry, Old Tom, Plymouth and Dutch.
The Difference between Vodka and Gin
The major difference between vodka and gin lies in the raw materials used in the production of both spirits, aside from the countries of origin.
While vodka is made from by distillation of potatoes, rye or wheat, gin is made with the help of distillation of malt or grain and then mixed with the flavor of juniper berries. The main constituent of Vodka is water and ethanol while the central part of Gin is Juniper berries.
Evidently, both vodka and gin are clear, colorless spirits, but when it comes to taste, both drinks carry a huge difference. Vodka is virtually neutral and tasteless, while gin often has distinctive, herbal notes. What marks this distinct flavour between the two spirits is that while vodka is a water-based alcohol which lends itself to more of an unfettered, clean finish, gin comes with eight botanicals used to realise its unique, juniper-laden flavour.
How it is served
Vodka is best served chilled while gin can be served without ice or refrigeration. Drinking chilled vodka gives a better mouthfeel as the drink is viscous at ice-cold temperatures. Gin, on the other hand, is already comes with aromatic flavours that compensate for when it is not served chilled.
Cocktail and Mixes
While both drinks are specially good for making cocktails, vodka is the preferred choice for most mixologists. Vodka plays a main ingredient in many cocktails including Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Moscow Mule, White Russian, Black Russian, etc. It can also be consumed with soft drinks.
For gin, its complexity comes alive when mixed with straight flavours just as in gin and tonic cocktail the effervescence of the tonic, the hit of sweet quinine and a twist of citrus (lemon or lime) makes a deceptively basic drink come to life.Other cocktails popularly made with gin include Ramos Gin Fizz, Martinez, Gin Rickey, Red Snapper, Tom Collins, White Lady, Hanky Panky, Clover Club, etc.
While gin maybe classified as a flavoured vodka in many instances, vodka can never be seen as a gin. This is because gin can be re-distilled from vodka, only with added spice and herbal extracts.
Types of Gin
Juniper-Flavoured Spirit Drinks
They are the earliest class of gins distilled in pot stills from fermented grain mash, before being re-distilled with aromatic compounds. They are approximately 68% ABV in strength.
Also juniper flavoured, however the juniper or aromatic compounds are added later on.
Distilled gin is made by exclusively the re-distillation of ethanol of agricultural origin and has an initial strength of 95% ABV. It is also added with additional juniper berries and other natural botanicals.
London gin comes exclusively from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin along with a maximum methanol content of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100% ABV equivalent.
The flavour is added by re-distilling in traditional stills of ethyl alcohol in the presence of all the natural plant materials used, resulting in a spirit of 70% ABV. London gin is sometimes referred to as ‘Dry’.
Popular Vodka and Gins in Nigeria and their Prices
The world’s number one premium vodka, Smirnoff, will be rewarding customers of its Smirnoff X1 brand with new Smirnoff-branded music headsets.
Following the success of its Smirnoff X1 tour across 8 cities in Nigeria, Smirnoff X1 is launching a new campaign to reward its customers as well as boost sales for the value product.
Diageo Nigeria is teaming up with several of its major distributors including Drinks.ng to give out Smirnoff branded-headsets to its customers. To win a headset, order two bottles of Smirnoff X1 vodka from Drinks.ng. Offer is valid while stocks last.
Smirnoff launched the newest addition to its Vodka range: The Smirnoff X1on Saturday, 5th of November at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The unveiling coincided with its brand ambassador, DJ Spinall’s ‘TEN’ album launch.
Triple distilled, Extra smooth, the Smirnoff X1 was created with the Nigerian consumer in mind – a perfect drink for any good time. It comes in two flavours, the Smifnoff x1 original and the Smirnoff X1 Chocolate Flavoured Vodka.
Speaking at the X1 launch last year, Smirnoff Brand Manager, Toluwalashe Ogunyemi, said ‘
The X1 is a wonderful addition to the Smirnoff family. We are proud to say our consumers will enjoy the same great taste that they have come to associate with the Smirnoff range’
Vodka is one of the world’s most popular spirit drink. It is considered one of the highest selling alcoholic beverages in the world with brands like Absolut, Ciroc and Belvedere among topping the list.
However, as much as we love to end the night with a glass of vodka, many still wonder where vodkas come from. Generally, vodkas are distilled from plant based raw materials rich in sugar and starch. The starch or sugar is boiled to create a mash and yeast is added to it. It is allowed to ferment, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. While the latter evaporates, the resultant liquid is distilled to a high-proof alcohol. The high-proof alcohol is further diluted to bottling strength to create vodka.
The question then is, what plants are vodkas made from?
This is the most popular plant that vodkas are made from. It is primarily used in Poland, Russia and the rest of the vodka belt of Eastern Europe.
French vodka, Ciroc, is one of the most popular vodka brands made from grapes. California’s Guild Wineries & Distilleries started the trend back in the late 1970s with a grape-based vodka called Silverado. The vodka soon disappeared as due to low sales in the market.
Rye is another sugar-filled product which vodkas are made from. Popularly used in Poland, they produce organic vodkas. Belvedere is one of the most popular vodkas distilled from rye.
Barley maybe popular for being used to brew beer. However, it is also used in the distillation of vodka. Filandia vodka is primarily brewed from barley.
Wheat is another primary ingredient used in the distillation of vodka. Brands like Absolut, Grey Goose and Svedka are brewed from the grassy plant.
Corn is rich in sugar and starch and makes for a good vodka raw material. Well-known American vodkas like Tito are 100% distilled from corn.
The use of rice in the distillation of vodka is popular in Asia. Rice comes in handy also in the distillation of whiskey for the people of the Orient.
Wheat, rye, corn, and sorghum are common ingredients of grain-based vodka. Vodka companies do not necessarily specify which particular grain goes into the distillation of their brands. UK’s Smirnoff vodka is one of the most popular grain-based vodka.
*In some cases, there is a combination of more than one plant in the distillation of certain vodka brands. For example, Netherlands’ Van Gogh is distilled from a combination of wheat, corn, and barley.
A lot of Nigerian companies have celebrities to represent their brand and connect with their consumers on a better level. Drink companies have not been left out of the rage and huge brands such as Bacardi Martini, and Nigerian Breweries have Nigerian superstars as the faces of their brands. Here is a list of some of these brands and their ambassadors.
Bacardi Martini – Bryan Okwara
Bryan Okwara was crowned ‘Mr Nigeria’ in 2007, and has since worked hard at establishing himself as a reputable model and actor. He was unveiled on the 1st of August as the brand ambassador for Martini’s Begin Desire campaign as the Nigerian Martini Man.
Skyy Vodka- Patoranking
Nigeria’s dancehall sensation, Patoranking- real name Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie is the brand ambassador for Skyy Vodka. The singer was quoted saying that his nature and personality are in perfect alignment with the brand’s message of fun. He said ‘ I am a great fan of SKYY Vodka and aligning with a strong international brand that not only understands but also appreciates my artistry and is committed to supporting the growth of my music beyond the nigerian borders is a fantastic opportunity.
Smirnoff- Dj Spinall
Popular disc jockey, DJ Spinall is the first African brand ambassador for Diageo’s vodka brand Smirnoff. DJ Spinall, whose real name Sodamola Oluseye Desmond is the official DJ for Beat FM Ibadan. He is also the official DJ for the weekly Industry Nite.
Ciroc – Banky W
Ciroc Vodka has RnB crooner Banky W as its brand ambassador in Nigeria. Described by many as the King of African Soul/R&B, Banky W combines global style with African rhythms and influences to create an entirely unique and impressive sound, which has catapulted him to continental and international acclaim. Aside from his musical success, Banky W is the king of Lagos’ vibrant nightlife scene, and is known as a staple on any exclusive guest list.
Orijin – Reminisce
Top Nigerian rapper Remilekun Safaru popularly known as Reminisce is the brand ambassador for Orijin Bitters. The company chose Reminisce as its brand ambassador in line with what Orijin represents, noting that Orijin comes from a special blend of the old with the new, the traditional with the modern and these same qualities are epitomised by Reminisce, whose quality and depth of work as an artist makes him a perfect fit as brand ambassador.
Life Continental Beer – Flavour
Award winning highlife musician who was previously an ambassador for Guinness Nigeria, recently announced as the Ambassador for leading South-east beer brand, Life Continental Beer.The brand which has been for years the beer of preference for the people of the South-east, made this choice to further reinforce its commitment to the heritage, essence, connection and affinity with the people of South-east.
Johnnie Walker- Don Jazzy
The Mavin Boss joined the league of one of the Global ambassadors for Johnnie Walker, a brand of Scotch whisky owned by Diageo in September 2015. He started off with the ‘Joy will take you further’ campaign which was a huge success.
Martell- Burna Boy
Damini Ogulu popularly known as Burna Boy is the Nigerian Brand Ambassador for Martell Cognac. He joined Jude Abaga (M.I) as a representative of the Cognac brand.
Campari- 2 face
In April 2016, the Legendary International RnB superstar, 2Face was announced as the brand ambassador for premium liqueur brand Campari, The brand explained its decision to partner with 2Face, saying he embodies the values that the Campari brand represents – originality, passion, maturity and universal appeal.
Global beverage alcohol company Diageo PLC is dropping Guinness from the name of its U.S. beer business. The company is going to change from Diageo-Guinness USA (DGUSA) to Diageo Beer Company USA. Following several months of strategy work to help best position the company’s U.S. beer business for the future, it was decided that the group’s name should convey Diageo’s brewing credentials and commitment to the broad category of premium beer.
Diageo, which is the world’s largest spirits maker, plans to ramp up investments in Irish beers Smithwick and Harp, which have struggled in the U.S., resulting in falling beer sales last year.
In the U.S., the company has historically plowed its money into Guinness and “alcopop” Smirnoff ice, which make up the bulk of its American business. On Friday,the company’s rep said it has “a deep innovation pipeline for beer and flavored malt beverages” including creating a new alcoholic soda line and launching a Smirnoff spiked seltzer.
Beer makes up about 20% of Diageo’s global sales but is its biggest business in Africa, where it sees the drink as a means to promote its spirits brands.
The moves in the U.S. come as beer has been losing ground to liquor and wine and as beer companies such as AB InBev NV and MillersCoors LLC have responded by expanding into alcoholic soda. Global beer head, Mark Sandys, last year noted that growth is expected to come from Africa and Asia, while the U.S. and other mature markets will be flat.
“This change truly represents a culture and mindset shift for The company’s U.S. beer business,” said Tom Day, president of the newly named Diageo unit. He said
Diageo was responding to interest from U.S. consumers in “experimenting with new styles and brands.”
Want to have some cocktail fun at home all by yourself? There’s no need to break the bank or muddle recipes up. Here are 7 simple do-it-yourself cocktails that are easy to prepare and serve to your guests.
Captain Morgan White Rum (50 ml)
(1 dash) Soda Water
(2 tsps.) Caster Sugar
2 Lime Wedges
1 Mint Sprig
In a mixing glass, mix caster sugar and lime wedges together using a pestle or a large spoon to extract lime flavour and aroma.
Mash about 12 leaves from the mint sprigs together with the lime and sugar.
Add crushed ice to about three-fourths of the glass.
Pour the rum and dash of soda.
Use a spoon to stir the drink thoroughly.
Garnish with a few crushed mint leaves and add crushed ice. Serve cold.
Diageo plcis a British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London, England. It is the world’s largest producer of spirits and a major producer of beer and wine.
Diageo’s brands include Smirnoff (the world’s best-selling vodka), Johnnie Walker (the world’s best-selling blended Scotch whisky), Baileys (the world’s best-selling liqueur) and Guinness (the world’s best-selling stout). It also owns 34% of Moët Hennessy, which owns brands including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy. It sells its products in over 180 countries and has offices in around 80 countries.
Diageo is an invented name that was created by the branding consultancy Wolff Olins in 1997. The name is composed of the Latin word “dia”, meaning day, and the Greek root “geo”, meaning world, and is meant to reference the company giving pleasure every day, everywhere.
Diageo was formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan, under the authorization of Guinness’s Philip Yea and Anthony Greener, along with Grand Metropolitan’s John Mcgrath and George Bull. Shares in Diageo began trading on the London Stock Exchange on 17 December 1997.
Diageo owned Pillsbury until 2000 when it was sold to General Mills.In 2002, Diageo sold the Burger King fast food restaurant chain to a consortium led by US firm Texas Pacific for $1.5 billion. During February 2011, Diageo acquired Mey Icki, a Turkish Liquor company for a total of $2.1 billion.
In recent years, Diageo has invested in many companies.
Present at the signing of the contract at Guinness Headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos were Gavin Pike, Marketing and Innovation Director Guinness Nigeria, Adenike Adebola , Portfolio Director Spirit and Tobi Sanni Daniel, RTD Guinness Nigeria.
The multiple award-winning DJ is the first Nigerian DJ to be endorsed by any brand in Africa and the first African DJ to tour the United States.