Mrs. Jane Karuku Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer EABL. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kenya Breweries Ltd (KBL) is set to launch a new beer, targeting youthful drinkers.

The new "fruit-influenced" light beer dubbed Rockshore Tropical is packed in a long-neck bottle and is "targeted at the new generation of drinkers," said KBL in a statement ahead of today's launch.

It marks the expansion of the flagship Tusker brand that includes Tusker Lager, Tusker Malt and Tusker Lite as the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm bets on the new products to acquire new customers and lift sales in the coming years.

Sweet alcoholic beverages have become the new fuel for driving beer-drinking habits among young adults. Closely resembling soft drinks, these alcoholic drinks do not look, smell, or even taste like traditional alcoholic beverages like beer or cocktails made with hard liquors.

This has put pressure on beer makers to innovate as they seek to recruit new drinkers and retain existing ones amid sagging sales. In 2016, KBL launched Tusker Premium Cider, a beer made from crushed apples, targeting middle-class youth.

The move is part of East African Breweries Ltd (EABL)—KBL’s parent company—bid to counter consumers’ increasing shift to premium and foreign brews from mass-market brands. EABL has in the past few years introduced alcoholic brands, seeking to grow and diversify its product portfolio across the region.

It has done this by targeting different consumer segments at a time competition from foreign brewers has intensified in the premium and super-premium segments, which have experienced strong growth and retained attractive profit margins.