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Brewers back Waititu as State extends crackdown

Oliver Musembi @PeopleDailyKe

Liquor manufacturers have welcomed the move by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu to crack down on illicit brews as the National government launches a multi-agency fight against alcohol in Central.

The move seeks to reign in brewers and distributors of substandard alcoholic drinks. The manufacturers said the new legislation is good for the industry as it will not only ensure quality is maintained, but also stamp out counterfeits.

The operation kicked off in parts of Kiambu this week and has so far netted an assortment of wines, whiskies and vodkas which do not meet the set standards. Officials from the National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada), Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the administration conducted inspections in brewing plants.

A team led by Samson Wambisa of the Anti-Counterfeits Agency inspected and cleared Thika-based liquor companies Vinepack Ltd which brews Fiesta Ice, Moonlight vodka and Nile Tot and African Spirits Ltd; manufacturers of Furaha brandy and whiskey.

Wambisa said while the two firms have met the standards set by law to operate as liquor manufacturers, a third one; Two Cousins which is also based in Thika could not be inspected as the premises was closed for renovations.

“We are out to ensure that all products in the market conform to the regulations after it came to our attention that some goods bear fake KRA stickers while others are expired while still at the shelves,” the official said.

At Mwea in Gatundu North, the team intercepted a consignment of Santana Ice, a spirit-based alcoholic beverage brewed from Naivasha which, after inspection was found to be up to standard. Area acting Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Katee said the officers seized other non-alcoholic products including energy drinks which are suspected to be counterfeits.

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