Monument Distillers Nigeria acquires the rights to Four Cousins wine

Monument Distillers Nigeria has acquired the rights to Four Cousins wine – the most popular mass market bottled wine South African brand – in Nigeria. It comes a month after UK drinks company Kensington Distillers and Vintners acquired Monument Distillers from AB InBev.

Monument Distillers was acquired by Kensington Distillers and Vintners Limited (KDV), a UK drinks company, from AB InBev as part of its March 2019 acquisition of the 1960 Rootz flavored spirits brand.  KDV owns brands including Bannerman’s Finest (whisky),  Grace du Roi (wine), Mazzatti  and Innis & Gunn (beer), Malfy (gin) and Don Papa (rum).

In South Africa, a 75cl bottle of Four Cousins retails for R45 ($3.12). Monument Distillers plans to use the brand to meet rising consumer demand for value wine in Nigeria. Four Cousins wines tend to be sweeter and aimed at consumers who are less familiar with wine. The brand, which was established twenty years ago, has been South Africa’s bestselling bottled wine brand since 2010.

Although the accompanying press release talks about how Nigerian consumers will recognise the provenance and heritage of the brand, the reality is that Nigeria’s high growth wine market has little brand recognition and few established retail specialists to guide consumer tastes. To the extent that provenance is important, it is a distribution and sourcing issue: the Nigerian market is rife with fake wines and in the traditional markets sees a lot of trade done with wines of dubious origin/storage.

That is starting to change because of the growing influence of South African supermarket chains such as Shoprite and Game (and shortly – Pick n Pay), whose wine portfolios are dominated by South African brands. The weakness of the rand, coupled with the affordability of South African wines, compared to European brands, makes them an attractive proposition for companies seeking to tap into a market that accounts for more than 40m bottles annually.