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From Ghana with love

The growing herbal drink market in Lagos witnessed a boost over the weekend with the launch of three new Ghanaian brands by Gihoc Distillery Company Ltd. at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex.

Gihoc, widely seen as West Africa's biggest distiller of alcohol beverages, introduced Mandingo Bitters, Herb Afrik Gin Bitters and Takai Liqueur to the Nigerian market at a launch which attracted a huge crowd of lovers of herbal drinks.

The launch, which took place at the trade fair complex, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, had dancers and comedians to entertain the crowd while sampling of the products was conducted.

Nkechi Fidel Ndubuisi, a representative of Gihoc, said the company has endeared itself to the vast Nigerian market via the use of original African bitters which aids potency and good health. "Gihoc has a reputation of producing only the finest herbal drinks and the introduction of these three new brands will enhance the economic growth of Nigeria as hundreds of distributors will be created in no time."

Introducing the brands

Mandigo Bitter, according to Mrs Ndubuisi, is the "secret of African warriors and is good for digestion". It is a bitter-sweet alcoholic herbal bitters made from the finest and purest herbs, extracted from four different roots, and serves as a detoxified agent, enhances body metabolism and weight loss.

Herb Afrik Bitters contains eight African herbs, purely extracted, blended and bottled in different sizes. According to her, it is very effective in boosting the immune system. "It serves as a drink but is very medicinal, and it helps in flushing out respiratory disorders, reduction of fat and stabilisation of blood sugar level," she said. "Herb Afrik bitters contains 40 per cent of alcohol and serves as a cleanser, which enhances sexual adult performance, no wonder it was nick named 'oga at the top'."

Takai Liqueur is a blend of decaffeinated coffee, cocoa, honey and a blend of alcoholic beverages, which has about three recipes – Takai whispers, Takai cream and Takai tropical high. With its 27 percent alcohol, it is best serve chilled as a cocktail.

The three new brands are drinks that will appeal to the modern African who wants to enjoy the best things of life while still holding on to their African roots," said Mrs Ndubuisi.

Creating a buzz

According to Williams Quaye, the Head of Sales and Marketing, Gihoc, the reception at the launch depicts the company's reputation in producing excellent products that resounds with Nigerian consumers.

We are here at the fair to create awareness," he said. "The event has been ongoing for about one week and the response has been very marvellous. The consumers have tasted the product and they still come back with friends to share the fun. Our products are herbs and purely medicinal; we have a herbal institute in Ghana, with qualified doctors where we treat patients suffering from all kinds of ailments."

Our products are good for women experiencing menstrual pain, people suffering from malaria, piles, and they also make a man sexually active. Herb Afrik sells for N700 for the 700ml bottle and N200 for the 200ml size, Mandingo sells for N600 while Takai sells for N1500 and they are available in shops. However, while our consumers enjoy our drinks, we encourage them to drink responsibly and not to drink while they drive."

Company Profile

Gihoc is the first modern distillery to be established in West Africa. It was established by the pre-independence Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in 1958 as the State Distilleries Corporation for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. It however became a division of the then Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) in 1968.

In 1980, the distillery, together with 15 other divisions of GIHOC, was re-registered and incorporated as a Limited Liability Company and a wholly owned subsidiary of GIHOC, under the Companies Code, 1963 (ACT 179). Following the closure of GIHOC, and subsequently the repeal of the statute incorporating it in 1993, GIHOC Distilleries became and has since remained a Limited Liability Company, wholly owned by the Government of Ghana.

The principal activity of GDCL is the blending and bottling of a variety of alcoholic beverages. Included in its portfolio are such brands as Castle Dry Gin, Kaiser, Chevalier, Mandingo, Herb Afrik, Takai, Sorrento, and Buccaneer Rum. These products are blended and bottled with about 60% local raw materials. Currently GDCL has introduced some of its popular alcoholic brands into new packaging (G-Pet and G-Tot).

The products conform to international standards. The three products (Herb Afrik Bitters, Mandingo Bitters and Takai Liqueur) have been registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria.

Consumers speak

Nnemeka Hilary, a trader, said: "I visited their stand the very first day and have not missed it for over five days now. I enjoy the herbal drink called Herb Afrik, it's smooth and it detoxified my system. I feel better and very active every time I take the herbal drink. It gives me vigour to carry on."

Nicholas Ogbuaji, Aa student and musician, said: "The herbal drink is a very nice drink, an extract of various herbs that are not harmful to the body. It is very effective. I have been taking the drink, and have experienced so many positive changes in my body; for example, I was having malaria and feeling very weak but since I started taking the Mandigo bitter, I have been relieved of all the abnormalities in my body system. I feel very better now."

Tony Chukwu, a businessman, said: "I was invited here by a friend and I am not regretting it. I tasted the Herb Afrik Bitters and believe me, it's a very nice drink compared to other bitters we have in the market. Herb Afrik is not too sweet and it's not too bitter. I just bought a carton of it to take home for my daily consumption since it makes a man sexually active without any side effects."
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