How to Start a Wines and Spirits Business in Kenya

Anne Katana

Opening a liquor store can be a lucrative business venture. Still, you must do your homework to comply with all the necessary licensing and local laws. This article will walk you through the process of starting a wines and spirits business in Kenya, from getting started to what you can expect along the way.

Why Start a Wines and Spirits Business in Kenya?

Owning a liquor store can be a lucrative and valuable enterprise for the community. These establishments boast an impressive selection of alcoholic beverages, including exclusive products not found in typical grocery or convenience stores. As online alcohol purchases are limited, liquor stores offer a great chance to provide customers with an enjoyable in-person shopping experience.

Related: The Best Business to Start in Rural Kenya.

Requirements for Starting a Wines and Spirits Business in Kenya

Before you jump into opening up a liquor store, there are some things you need to do first.

1. Research

Starting a wine and spirits business in Kenya requires specific regulations, so it’s vital to be prepared and ensure you comply with all requirements.

This means doing the necessary research to understand the laws and regulations by which superintendence and control of wines and spirits businesses are governed in Kenya.

Researching potential suppliers is crucial to ensure you’re buying quality products, have adequate stock levels, receive timely deliveries, and gain a competitive advantage over other retailers.

Keep all documents in an organized filing system when conducting your research, as these may come in handy if government authorities ever audit you.

Ultimately, putting this extra effort into research upfront will help get your business on the right foot.

2. Capital

You’ll need to have the necessary capital to open up a liquor store.

This includes rent, stock, shelves, grids, and all the other costs associated with starting a business.

It can also include funds for marketing and advertising campaigns to help reach new customers – especially if you plan on running retail specials or offering discounts.

As for the stock, it depends on the type of customers you wish to serve, but generally, it’s wise to have a good selection of beer, wine, and spirits.

Finally, start on what you have for the stock, then build it up over time as your business grows and develops.

You may be able to qualify for loans with banks or other financial institutions if you need extra funding.

3. Location

Starting any business in Kenya has specific legal requirements to ensure success and compliance with respective laws. This holds especially true for wine and spirits businesses.

Kenya has specific regulations concerning the location of a wine and spirits business, which must be established within a prescribed area such as a shopping centre, mall, or business area at least 200 meters from any residential area, school, or place of worship.

A local authority must approve your proposed site before issuing a license.

Moreover, the size of the business premises must meet minimum regulations set out by the nearest county government office.

Highways, Main Street, and other public places are good because of the high traffic.

Not only that, but you should also consider the proximity of existing competitors in your proposed area.

You may also like 10 Best Businesses for Ladies Sitting at Home.

4. Get a Liquor License and Permits

In Kenya, obtaining a wine and spirits license can be a lengthy process that requires specific paperwork, including obtaining approval from relevant local government bodies.

A special license is also required to sell alcohol in any restaurant or bar in Kenya, which you will need to apply.

Before a license is issued, a local council may inspect the premises to ensure it meets safety and other requirements.

Once approved, you will receive the license to sell liquor legally in Kenya.

One thing I know about the cost of a wine and spirits License in Kenya is that most individuals will lie to you about the price.

It is, therefore, best to visit your local council/county office or Huduma Center to inquire about the cost.

That said, the license cost is usually determined by various factors, such as your county and the nature of the license you want to apply for.

5. Know Your Target Market:

Many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that all customers are the same. They’re not.

Knowing your target market is essential to compete for the right customers and increasing sales.

Knowing your customer base can help you decide what products to stock and how to differentiate yourself from other liquor stores.

Furthermore, you can use online marketing and social media to reach a broader audience and build relationships with potential customers.

It is also vital to ensure that your store has the right mix of products for different tastes and preferences.

A good selection of wines, spirits, beers, ciders, and other beverages is essential to attract the right customers.

It is also advisable to stay updated with the latest industry trends to keep up with customer demand and preferences.

By doing so, you can be sure that your business will remain competitive and profitable in the long term.

6. Promote Your Business

Once you have everything set up, the next step is to promote your business.

Most people start by simply telling their friends and family about the new venture.

Creating an online presence, such as a website and social media accounts, is vital to reach a larger audience.

You can use these platforms to post updates, offer discounts and promotions, and create content related to your selling products.

Another great way to promote your business is by attending local events such as wine festivals and exhibitions.

By participating in these events, you’ll be able to network with potential customers and industry professionals.

Finally, don’t forget to leverage traditional methods such as print adverts and brochures.

By following these steps, you will be well on your way to starting a successful wine and spirits business in Kenya.

Are Wine and Spirits Profitable in Kenya?

Yes, wines and spirits can be profitable in Kenya. In recent years, the Kenyan market for alcoholic beverages has grown significantly, especially as more people have access to disposable income.

Additionally, the country has seen an increase in bars, pubs, clubs, and restaurants selling alcohol, which means more customers and potential income.

That said, it’s essential to understand the local regulations and laws around liquor sales before you get started to ensure your business is compliant.

Also, read 15 Best Side Business Ideas for Ladies in 2022

How Much Money do you Need to Start a Wines and Spirit business in Kenya?

The capital you need to start a wine business can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your venture.

Generally, entrepreneurs will need capital for inventory/stock, licensing fees, advertising costs, and other operating expenses associated with running a business.

You should also factor in costs related to renting or purchasing premises (at least initially) and other overhead expenses.

Ultimately, it would help if you aimed to have enough funds to cover your start-up costs and maintain operations for at least the first six months.

It is also suggested that you have a backup plan if sales do not meet expectations during this period.

Starting any business requires dedication and hard work, so ensure you are prepared for the challenges ahead and have enough financial resources to sustain operations during the initial stages.

You can be well on your way to a successful wine business in Kenya with the right approach.

Where to Get Liquor Distributors in Kenya

Finding the right liquor distributors in Kenya can be challenging.

There are a few key steps when searching for the best suppliers.

  • Research local wholesalers and retailers with access to the products you require.
  • Network with other wine and spirits businesses to identify potential suppliers.
  • Look for wholesalers who specialize in the type of products you are selling, as they may be able to offer more competitive pricing and better quality products.
  • Visit local wine fairs or exhibitions to find suppliers in person and get a feel for the market.

It is also essential to do your due diligence before committing to any supplier by checking customer reviews, looking into their reputation, and assessing their pricing structure.

By carefully researching potential suppliers, you can ensure that your business can access the best quality products at competitive prices.

Read also 10 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.

Tips on how to Run a Wines and Spirits business in Kenya

The following tips can help you run a successful wine and spirits business in Kenya:

1. Sell Genuine Liquor

It is essential to ensure that all products that you sell are genuine, of high quality, and safe for consumption.

There are a lot of counterfeits in the market, and it is easy for unsuspecting customers to buy them.

Therefore, ensure that you only deal with reputable suppliers and that your products meet all industry standards.

Selling genuine liquor will also keep you out of trouble with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and other government agencies responsible for regulating the industry.

2. Have a Variety of Products

To remain competitive, offering a wide range of products is essential.

This will enable you to attract more customers and increase sales.

Make sure you are updated on the latest trends in the industry, and keep an eye out for new products that may be in demand.

3. Offer Competitive Prices

Offering competitive prices is essential to running a successful wine and spirits business in Kenya.

Make sure you know the going rates for similar products and adjust your pricing accordingly.

It is also essential to review your prices regularly to remain competitive.

4. Buy from one Distributor/Supplier

To avoid counterfeits and ensure the quality of your products, it is advisable to buy from one distributor.

Having a single supplier will also make it easier for you to track orders and manage inventory.

Furthermore, Buying from one supplier can help you to access better deals and discounts.

This will enable you to keep your prices low, attract more customers, and increase profits.

5. Pay Attention to Customer Feedback

Finally, paying attention to customer feedback and using it to improve your business is essential.

This will help you identify areas of improvement and ensure that customers receive the best possible service.

By following these tips, you can be well on your way to running a successful wine and spirits business in Kenya.


Starting a wine and spirits business in Kenya can be a rewarding experience. However, having the proper knowledge and resources is crucial before getting started.

Share This Article
Anne is a student of history. She enjoys sharing her passion and experiences with people through blogging. She started to educate and inspire people globally.