How to Start a Wines and Spirits Business in Kenya 2023

The wines and spirits business is a large and growing industry that includes the production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages such as wine, spirits, and beer. This industry is highly regulated, and companies must adhere to strict regulations and licensing requirements to operate legally.

Types Of Wines And Spirits

The wine and spirits business can be divided into several different segments, including:

  1. Production: This involves growing grapes, fermenting them into wine or distilled spirits, and aging and bottling the final product.
  2. Wholesale and distribution: This involves the transportation and sale of wine and spirits to retail stores and restaurants.
  3. Retail: This includes wine and spirits stores, as well as online retailers, where consumers can purchase alcoholic beverages.
  4. Hospitality: This includes restaurants, bars, and other establishments that serve wine and spirits to customers.

In recent years, the wine and spirits industry has seen significant growth, driven by increased consumer interest in premium and craft products, as well as the popularity of wine and spirits tourism.

However, the industry also faces challenges such as increasing regulatory pressures and changes in consumer preferences.

Types Of Wines And Spirits In Kenya

Kenya has a thriving wine and spirits industry, with a range of local and imported brands available. Here are some of the most popular types of wines and spirits in Kenya:

  1. Wines:
  • Red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Malbec
  • White wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling
  • Rosé wines: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
  1. Spirits:
  • Whisky: Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich, Jameson, Jack Daniel’s
  • Vodka: Smirnoff, Absolut, Grey Goose
  • Gin: Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Hendrick’s
  • Brandy: Hennessy, Courvoisier, Martell, Remy Martin
  • Rum: Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Havana Club
  • Tequila: Jose Cuervo, Patron, Don Julio
  1. Liqueurs:
  • Baileys Irish Cream
  • Kahlua
  • Amarula Cream
  • Grand Marnier

It’s worth noting that Kenya also has a growing craft spirits scene, with local distilleries producing unique gin, vodka, and other spirits.

How To Get Started Wholesale/Retail and distribution


You first need to identify the ideal location and because alcohol consumption is a leisure activity many clients prefer to frequent establishments that are easily accessible from the main road.


It is advisable to choose a location that has high traffic. Avoid setting up your business near schools as this is against the law.


There is intense competition, especially in urban areas and for this reason, you need to ensure that your strategy is on point.

Scan the market conditions and set a realistic price. You also need to keep track of changes in market trends if you want to remain competitive.

Wines And Spirits License In Kenya

Licensing is the most important aspect of starting a wines and spirits shop. The most important license of all is the liquor license which costs Ksh50,000. Other licenses include:

  1. Business License from County Council – Ksh3,500
  2. Health Certificate – Ksh3,000
  3. Approval by NEMA – Ksh3,000
  4. MCSK License – Ksh3,000

Requirements for setting up

The requirements for setting up your wines and spirits business in Kenya depend on your long-term goals and capital constraints. For instance, if you don’t have much capital you can look for a 10×10 ft room and set up a simple wine and spirit takeaway shop.

With more capital, you can set up a sit-in facility with chairs, tables, and shelves. On average rent, prices range from Ksh20,000 – Ksh50,000 depending on location.

Wines and Spirits Business Cost Breakdown

  • Licenses – Ksh70,000
  • Furniture (Shelves, Display area, Tables, Chairs, etc.) – Ksh50,000
  • Stock (Inventory) – Ksh50,000
  • Miscellaneous – Ksh100,000
  • TOTAL – Ksh270,000

Wines And Spirits Operating Hours In Kenya

In Kenya, the operating hours for wine and spirits businesses are regulated by the Alcoholics Drinks Control Board (ACDB) under the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act. The act sets out specific operating hours for the sale and consumption of alcohol.


The operating hours for wines and spirits businesses in Kenya are as follows:

  1. Monday to Thursday: 5 pm to 11 pm
  2. Friday and Saturday: 5 pm to 2 am the following day
  3. Sunday and public holidays: 2 pm to 11 pm

It is essential to note that these operating hours may vary depending on the location of the business and the regulations set by the county government. Some counties may set different operating hours for wines and spirits businesses, so it is crucial to check with the relevant county government authorities.

Wines and spirits businesses are required to adhere to these operating hours to avoid any penalties or legal action.

Expected Challenges

The first challenge you are going to face is intense competition. You will need to provide quality services and the best prices in order to retain old customers who will in turn keep coming back with their friends.

You also need to appreciate the challenge that you can only open your business from 5.00pm – 11.00pm on weekdays and 2:00pm – 11:00pm on weekends and public holidays

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