‘With drink festival, local brands will have opportunity to rebrand’

Ezekiel Adamu

Ezekiel Adamu is the CEO of Balmoral Group, A 360 events solutions company. Ezekiel has a first degree in Computer science from the University of Luton, UK, and a master’s degree in Financial Decision Analysis from the University of Portsmouth. He spoke to GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR on the forthcoming International Drinks Festival holding in Lagos.

It is international drink period. It is a festival of ideas for the drinks industry. It is scheduled to hold for three days, exhibitions and master classes of different sectors of the drink, the summit is going to talk about the real business of drinks and we have a lot of tasting that will be going on and sales too.

The unveiling, which held at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos kicked off with a cocktail session on the red carpet. The red carpet was a spectacle of various drink sections, the beautiful local palm wine drink corner, the exquisite juice bar, the fun beer parlor spot.

We are sure of what we’re going to be putting in to get that amount. Professionals, the brand folks, the hotel and hospitality industry experts, the event vendors that use drinks every weekend are the 5,000 professionals. That was how we got the 5,000 professionals. This is an all-drink festival, not an alcoholic festival. It’s where you have Champagne, juice, tea, water, everything in all categories are involved in the Drinks Festival.

The Nigerian drinks market is over N6 billion, not yet a major player, as compared to other countries in the world. We, however, have that consuming population, which can be estimated to be over N170 billion. So, with events like this, consumers are more exposed to newer brands and they begin to have options. This event will also open up employment, more brands to come in, and the existing brands will see reasons to expand; it automatically boosts the economy.

The focus of the festival is to create a platform for the drinks industry; we are talking about alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We are talking about technology in the drink industry, people in the drink business how they can repackage these drinks to be bought after.

A lot of companies want to come to the country to test the market and see what it is like here. It will also provide a platform for them to come in and show their brands to the consumers. Already, we have over 200 retailers, who have shown interest to participate at the festival. These brands are open for retailers and every consumer to come in.

Another parameter we are looking at is how do we rebrand our local drinks, such as palmwine, zobo and the like. There is no better way to compete with the international brand like what this platform has provided, where they have opportunity to communicate and talk to one another on how to improve on what they are doing and also educate the local brand on how to achieve optimum result. The festival will have a session on how to rebrand our local drinks. How do we repackage them to be able to compete with individual brands? How we can use those products as exports to other countries.

Why Lagos
It is a commercial city. We do not have plans to go to other states for now. The event is, however, not limited to Lagos residents. It is an international brand; we anticipate that it would go to other African countries in the future.

Inspiration
Balmoral has been involved in event and entertainment industry for over 13 years now. You discover that around the world, one industry, which has helped the event and entertainment, is the drink industry.

A platform like this is used to get data and determine trend. It is used to get statistics, and it will help other companies that want to come to get the data. For a country like Nigeria, whose drinking consumption is very high, this is what the festival wants to bridge.

Balmoral Group
Balmoral Group is an established and expanding integrated agency working across the spectrum of live events, design, planning and execution. We handle a diverse portfolio, offering 360-degree solutions to a number of industries, encompassing Event Management & Promotions, Exhibitions and Marketing Communication.

We provide an extremely broad range of services. Our marketing experience means we deliver solutions that have not only had impact, but work. Our company has grown out of the desire to do everything in-house. Balmoral’s core elements are;
• Balmoral Live
• Balmoral Exhibitions
• Balmoral Venues
• Balmoral Hospitality

Challenge
The most important thing in doing a festival of this nature is the desire to have it. In every walk of life, there are challenges and there will be challenges. The bulk of our challenge is logistic and there’s no company that can do it better than Balmoral. We have been in this business for 15 years and we have been around the world.

What will be the measure of success for us is this festival holding. Apart from that, it is the international participation and local brands to come and get to know current trends, preservatives, how to market the products and the demography of particular drinks. One other ffocus of the festivals is to see how the local drinks can be repacked for export and domestic consumptions.

It is still an ongoing project, we are not putting the project as one we will start making money the first year. Actually, it will be happening every year. We have not closed on. We have not actually sat down to estimate what we have spent.

Event business in Nigeria has not started. It is still a long way. I tell people, take away entertainment and sports from the American economy what do you have? In a country of over 180 million people, entertainment is a big thing. We have not ever started tapping into the properties fully yet.

Retailers
We are really out to a whole lot of them. The event is in December, but we started months ago. The idea was conceptualised over three years ago, we have reached out to all the hotels, almost all the bars, restaurants and people who are consumers of this drink. We are also reaching out to the major brands because they know how to reach their retailers.

Why December
December is very strategic. It is a celebration period. A lot of activities go on then. We actually have plans for the participating brands to drop their prices, so that people can come from around the country to take advantage of the discount that the brands will be giving. It is hoped that those who buy can use it during the yuletide.

Security
First and foremost, you need a space. We are pulling temporary structures together. We have performers and also sponsors. The event will happen with or without sponsorship. We have been planning fir this, these past three years. We are properly ready. However, we are discussing with some people to make it bigger and worth the while.

It is in a secured environment, which is Federal Palace Hotel and we are partnering with the police. We are partnering with a lot of private security out fits with experience in events like this. So that the foreigners coming will be adequately protected.

Message
We want every business that comes in there, forget he value for money they have spent in terms of moving their products. We need to create market for them. That’s the reason for exhibitions. This platform will provide the general public opportunity to know that our local brands can compete favourably with international brands.

Hardwork
A lot of young people are not really focused on the work; but on the lifestyle. Whatever you’re doing, hardwork is very important. There is no success without hard work.

According to Adamu, the three-day event would have different sessions, such as exhibition, drink summit, and master classes for consumers and professionals, noting, “The summit is more professional, while the master classes are basically for the consumers to help them know more about what they consume, and healthy drinking habit. It will also feature tasting of drinks and wines. There will also be a Beer Village, with barbecues and a live band to entertain guests.”

Expected guests include an international act, several DJs that would sustain the tempo and ensure people return on the second and third day.

In this article:
Balmoral GroupEzekiel Adamu


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