The over a century old National Alcohol & Liquor Factory (NALF) has launched a new alcohol product dubbed National Vodka. The alcohol is a year in its making and will be available in the market before the next week is out.
Having 40pc alcohol content and at three-quarters of a litre per bottle, it will be an addition to the locally bottled vodkas from the Abyssinia, Marathon and Black Lion brands.
The vodka will be packaged in a 0.75 litre bottle and sold for around 100 Br. The bottles will be packed in a box, which can hold one, two, six and 12 bottles at once.
"Although we have a long-term plan, we have planned to initially distribute to specific places such as bigger hotels and supermarkets," Alem Walday, sales team leader at the Factory told Fortune, adding that the state-enterprise has likewise installed a machine for the production of the vodka.
Vodka is composed mostly of water and ethanol, the latter of which is a psychoactive substance that is found in alcohols. The word Vodka comes from the translation of the world for water in Russian: "Voda". On the other hand, the Polish used the term to refer to any white distilled drink. Its birth brought us to the Middle Age when it started becoming popular. This liquor was produced from potatoes and had medicinal purposes.
One of their major challenges is making absolute ethanol, to give the vodka the sort of taste that matches that of the ones imported, according to Alem.
The Factory launched products, such as the Apple and Coke areqe brands, last year in addition to the 15 types of alcoholic brands it already had. Their alcoholic content ranges from 24pc to 43pc.
The state-enterprise also changed its packaging by launching 3.5 million bottles at the cost of 40 million Br.
"As many Ethiopians consume beer, there is still a large potential for high revenues, but that requires a good market strategy," Getie Andualem (PhD), a senior marketing instructor and researcher at the Addis Abeba University (AAU). "With good promotion and competitive pricing that profitability will come."
The state enterprise exports its products to Kenya, South Sudan and Israel. It also has plans to begin shipping products to China, the United States and South Africa.
"The factory will provide consumers with much more alternative to what they want to consume," said Alem.
Since the company repairs and replaces the outdated machinery and upgrade its laboratory which includes the new machine for the vodka manufacturing, it opened job opportunities for young graduates as operators for the engine.
NALF is one of the profitable and strategic state-owned enterprises; its profit has spiked by more than three folds from 188 million Br in 2011 to 607.4 million Br in the previous fiscal year while its capital bumped from 12 million Br in 2011 to 222 million Br last year with 683 employees.
Recently the company invested 415.7 million Br and 318.7 million Br to renovate its Mekanisa and Sebeta plants, respectively. The renovation raised the daily production capacity of pure alcohol from 5,000lt to 18,000lt for the Mekanissa plant and 12,000lt at the Sebeta plant.
The Ministry of Public Enterprises (MoPE), which is mandated to administer the factory, has already announced a bid to transfer it to private owners. The request which was announced two weeks ago will be closed in June 2018.