Alomo Bitters is a popular name in most homes and drinking joints in Nigeria today. It’s not just popular among the uneducated, but even the educated, smart looking men on many streets in the country have one bottle of Alomo stuffed in their briefcases or cars.
Since its debut in Nigeria two years ago, Alomo Bitters is a well sought after alcoholic drink among Nigerians. Unknown to may consumers, Alomo is a huge money spinning business for its Ghanaian owner, Dr. Kwabena Adjei who has invested millions into its newly commissioned factory in Ghana.
Adjei says the idea of Alomo Bitters occurred to him in 1989, when there was a demand for good quality alcoholic drinks by Ghanaians. Unknown to him, the little business he began then will cross the ECOWAS borders to Nigeria, where there is a ready market for such herbal product.
“The dream started exactly 20 years ago, and I could remember that we started with only the gin,” he says. “I said to myself that if we are blessed with this forest and our tradition says our forefathers eat the things of the forest for different purposes, why can’t we modify it by applying scientific method? So, that day, I went to the Centre for Scientific Research and told them about the idea and it was accepted.”
The production that Adjei started at his residence in Nungua, a suburb of Accra, with four staff registered under the name, Kasapreko Company Limited, has transverse the Ghanaian shores. The Kasapreko products penetrated the Nigerian market in 2009, and between then and now, it has become recognised, especially among the middle and lower-class Nigerians. One of the company’s distributors in Nigeria, Ani Okwudili of Golden Ariwaw Limited, at Mushin, says Alomo is a good business for him.
“It is a good business, especially in my areas and I have been able to achieve a lot since I became their representative in Nigeria.” The Nigerian market, no doubt, is at the centre of the recent expansion of the company in Ghana, as Adjei admits that Nigeria is a major market where he has reaped a huge profit on his investment.
Andrews Akolaa, the company’s marketing manager, explains that the brand entered the Nigerian market in 2009. It is a registered brand under NAFDAC, but before that, Alomo has been in the market through the help of the traders who come to Ghana.
“Since then, it has been phenomenal,” he states, “due to the fact that Nigerian market is quite huge. But I want to tell you that people are really benefitting from the products. The Nigerian market is really helping a lot because Ghana has small market. Nigerians have shown that traditionally, we are brothers.”
In addition, he says the company began the expansions and mobilisation programmes in 2001 with the acquisition of new a plant. The plant housed sophisticated machines that help in effective manufacture of the products under good hygienic condition. To further enhance productivity, the company acquired another multi million Central Bottling International (CBI) machine, which was commissioned on Friday, September 30, 2011, at the company’s headquarters. The machine, which can produce 15, 000 bottles of gin per hour and 250, 000 cartons in a month, was commissioned with factory expansion of about 7,500 square metres.
“We are doing this because there is more demand for our products and we don’t want our customers to come and beg us before we improve production. We’ve grown and we need to step up our game because the plant we had before couldn’t satisfy our customers, so there is need for expansion,” adding that, “Africa is for Africans and you don’t expect outsiders (Americans, Europeans) to develop Africa for us.
So we decided to use our own resources to develop our countries. In Kasapreko, we are creating jobs for other Africans as well,” adds Adjei.
The brand has not only conquered the Ghanaian brand market but has become a household name in other African countries and beyond, with demand from ardent consumers still on the high side. “When the idea to choose a brand name came up, we didn’t want to use any foreign name, we decided to use indigenous name because the product is originated in Africa and we are proud to be Africans. That’s why we use Alomo, meaning friendship while Kasapreko means straight to the point.”