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Will Nigeria stop wine consumption; as beverage prices soar uncontrollably?

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Wine prices in Nigeria have almost doubled as it is largely influenced by foreign exchange setbacks which businesses have to grapple with.

Chinenye Maryjane who runs Everyday Wine Shop in 3rd Avenue Gwarinpa, Abuja, with her co-owner husband laments how naira devaluation has doubled their prices thereby frustrating sales.

She said, “Early last year, the business was very good before the Covid-19 stepped in. After the Covid-19, the price of some drinks that we sell increased by about N10, 000 and some N20, 000 extra.

“Customers are complaining. Like this Hennessy we sold it for N10, 000 after the Covid-19 we sold it for N24, 000. Months later we sold it for N20, 000 and now it is sold for N22, 000. For Hennessy V.S.O.P, we sold it for N17, 000, but now, we sell it for N35, 000.”

Wine sales were down during the Covid-19 restriction as Euro-monitor projected a 33 per cent decline in 2020.

Nigeria’s hospitality industry lost over N50bn on restrictions which affected the sector including wine sales.

Spirits and wine account for 30 per cent and 15 per cent of alcohol consumption in Nigeria. The bear accounts for the remaining 55 per cent, according to NBS data.

Nigeria’s dollar scarcity is a big issue for firms that deal in imports and the prices of those goods suffer when they land.

Inflation is at 17.93 per cent and the dollar has devalued to N503 per dollar at the unofficial market and N410.16 at the Central Bank of Nigeria rate.

 She said, “The difference is very much,” Maryjane admitted. For instance, in her shop, Four Cousins now sells at N3000, from 2500 per bottle, while a carton now sells N30, 000 from 24,000.”

Buyers of Tequila will now spend between N8, 000 to N8, 500 for the same wine that cost N4, 500 in around July 2020.

Carlo Rossi Ice was sold between N1800 to N2000 but now it has risen by about 94 per cent to N3, 500 for a bottle.

Baileys’ Irish cream of N4, 600 will not be sold less than N6000 now she said, while Glenfiddich 18 years N18000 before lockdown now N35000.

Remy Martin has added an extra N7, 000 to its former price of N17, 000 to trade N24, 000 for a bottle. Moet and Chandon have also risen from N25, 000 to N40, 000 for a regular bottle.

Jameson 1780 of N5, 000 now goes for N7, 500, just to mention a few price shifts at the Everyday Wine Shop.

For the business woman, the surge in prices has been triggered not just by the Covid-19 pandemic, but she said dollar scarcity and the devaluation of the naira has made it so expensive to import from abroad.

“I have been thinking of the setback caused by the Covid-19 and dollar shortage. I know that those drinks are imported and are not made in Nigeria. So, I can say that it is affected by the issue of Covid-19 and the dollar issue,” she said of the development.

Just some miles away from Everyday Wine Shop, at the Second Avenue of Gwarinpa, the IC World is a magnificent building housing a retail store. It is a grocery shop, but wine selling is also cardinal to their operation.

Wine prices have also jumped at the popular grocery mall. At the wine section, 21-year-olds Glenfiddich currently sells at N142, 000, which is up from N85, 000 previously sold. 18-year-olds of the same wine now sell for N45, 000 from N35, 000.

Hennessy XO Cognac price is selling for N120, 000, while it was sold for N80, 000. Johnnie Walker was sold at N65, 000, but now consumers have to budget N83, 000 for the same drink.

Non-alcoholic wine like Valeta which sold between N800-N900 has its starting price at N10, 500 at the retail shop.

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