Local gin ‘Akpeteshie’ must go international – Minister

Producers of Ghana’s local gin, popularly known as ‘akpeteshie’ must put in efforts to make the product attractive by way of packaging in order to break into the international market, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku has said.

Akpeteshie, palmwine and other products she said were Ghana’s indigenous drinks that must be accepted and produced to meet international standards and demands to earn the country some form of foreign exchange.

“Just like the Russians have made vodka their indigenous product that is accepted globally, Ghana can do same with akpeteshie and palmwine,” the Minister stated on Friday at the launch of the third edition of the Ghana Beverages Awards under the theme:” Drink Ghana, inspiring excellence in Ghana’s beverage industry.”

She said, when the indigenous drinks were bottled well, they become marketable and patronised by the local and international market.

The Minister praised Global Media Alliance (GMA), organisers of the awards for the initiative which she said, falls in line with government’s Eat Ghana, See Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana campaign.

She urged organisers to fuse the indigenous drinks into the awards as they could compete very well with other products in the market.

“Akpeteshie for example can compete with other spirits during the awards in the ‘Spirit of the Year Category’, when packaged well,” she stated.

She therefore, urged Ghanaians to patronise the local products and ensure that, a good brand had been established with the indigenous beverages.

Speaking on the awards, Chief Executive Officer of GMA, Ernest Boateng announced that this year’s awards would witness a new twist where the ultimate ‘Product of the Year’ award would be decided by the public.

“We have created a platform for ordinary Ghanaians to, for the first time, vote for the product of the year as we believe the choice of the consumers,” he stated.

He added that, four new categories have been added to the awards including, International Wine of the Year, International Spirit of the Year, International Beer of the Year and New Beverage of the Year.

Other categories for this year’s event include Beer of the Year, Bitters of the Year, Water of the Year, Ciders/RTD of the Year, Cocoa/Chocolate/Diary drink of the Year, Energy drink of the Year and Fruit juice of the year.

Others are, Manufacturer of the Year, Socially Responsible Company of the Year and New Beverage of the Year.

He was optimistic that, Ghanaian beverage producers would do well to make a huge mark in the international market.

By Michael D. Abayateye

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