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Nigeria gains new distiller following 1960 Rootz acquisition

Kensington Distillers and Vintners (KDV) - owners of the international brands Bannerman's Finest Scotch Whisky, Grace du Roi Fine Wine and Mazzatti Italian Beer - has acquired the 1960 Rootz brand to form Monument Distillers Nigeria Limited which will also represent a range of international brands in Nigeria.
The acquisition is a significant investment into Nigeria for the premium drinks company, which has a strong footprint in southern Africa.

Having purchased both the brand and the state-of-the-art manufacturing plant used to produce 1960 Rootz from AB InBev, KDV is forming a new business called Monument Distillers, creating jobs in the process. The production facility will shortly be moved from AB InBev’s Port Harcourt production facility to Lagos where KDV’s offices are based.

Monument Distillers managing director, Ajay Malhotra, assures Nigerians that the 1960 Rootz brand will remain unchanged. He said, “AB InBev built an extremely successful brand in 1960 Rootz, and we believe it has the potential to lead this uniquely Nigerian flavoured spirits category, which grew by 21% from 2016 to 2017. We won’t be changing anything – the brand’s much-loved taste will remain the same.”

New brands to be launched

He went on to explain that KDV has plans to build on the success of the proudly Nigerian brand: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to continue to grow 1960 Rootz and for us to use our newly-formed Monument Distillers business to accelerate the growth of our international brands.”

In addition to manufacturing and owning the 1960 Rootz brand and representing international KDV brands like Bannerman’s Finest Scotch Whisky and Grace du Roi Fine Wines, Monument Distillers will be launching a number of new international brands in Nigeria soon under the guidance of its board members.

Board members

The company’s board includes liquor industry veteran, Mark Bowman, who led SABMiller Africa – across 18 African markets directly and a further 21 in partnership with the Castel Group – for 9 years, growing earnings by double digits and helping to build a total African business of over $10bn in revenue: a third of the group’s global earnings. Until recently, Bowman served on Distell’s board, and he is still on the boards of Mr Price, Dischem, Tiger Brands SA, KDV and Truman & Orange.

Monument Distillers’ board member, Rowan Leibbrandt, began his liquor industry career working across multiple European markets in a variety of commercial and marketing roles for William Grant & Sons and liquor giants, Pernod-Ricard, before launching KDV and rapidly growing South African liquor distributor, Truman & Orange.

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Michael Ajukwu, another Monument Distillers Board member, also sits on the boards of International Breweries plc (part of AB InBev), Sterling Bank plc, Novotel PH and Tiger Brands SA. The fourth board member is Olayemi Cardoso who also serves as Chairman of Citibank Nigeria and Chairman of Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA).
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