#InternationalDrinksFestival: We’re looking forward to a partnership that will drive local brands – CEO, Balmoral, Ezekiel Adamu

More flavour was added to the fun this December as brand owners, retailers, and holiday fun seekers stormed Federal Palace Hotel to see what the largest gathering of stakeholders in the drink industry has got to offer.

In the light of the fact that it is the first ever drink festival in Nigeria, the conversation around such a gathering of brands from all over the world would continue for a long while.

The International Drinks Festival started December 1 and ended December 3.

Yes! The YNaija team was there and, we caught up with Ezekiel Adamu, who teamed up with the COO of Balmoral Events, Akin Esho to give Nigerians that much fun for the weekend.

Akin Esho and Ezekiel Adamu, COO and CEO Balmoral Events

Mr Adamu, the CEO of the 360 events solutions company hails from Kebbi.

Mr Adamu has a first degree in Computer science from the University Of Luton, UK, and a Masters degree in Financial Decision Analysis from the University of Portsmouth.

His first job was with Schlumberger, Nigeria. Driven by motivation he then went on to establish the Balmoral Group 13 years ago.

Ezekiel Adamu is happily married with 2 Kids.

The interview:

Please Introduce yourself

Ok, I am Ezekiel Adamu, the CEO of Balmoral, the organisers of the International Drinks Festival.

What came to your mind that led you to organise a drink festival?

Well, we found out that there was a huge gap for providing platforms for the drinks industry. We also found out that penetration and exposure were being done by the major big players – the people that have the money.

The ones that did not have the budget for marketing, the exposure were being drowned.

So, we thought about putting together an international drinks festival, creating a level playing ground for all drinks businesses in Nigeria.

We found out that, according to a misleading statistic, Nigeria is the largest consumer of alcohol in Africa; an analysis they based on just about two thousand people, out of a hundred and eighty million people. That statistic was not sufficient grounds for such sweeping statements, it was not giving a true reflection of what our market is like. So, we tried to provide a platform like this, in that way we change that idea.

How were you able to bring all the exhibitors together?

We have been planning this for over four years now and, we have been all around the world to see how it is been done. We have been in conversation with almost all the major companies for a while now, for this event.

It was challenging though. Some of them were sceptical about the event, considering it is the first time, but we are happy that over 200 brands were being represented here. Both international and local.

What problems did you face before the event itself?

No problems that are not peculiar to all businesses. Human Resources, staffing, I mean, regular problems.

But, we were well prepared for this. We planned it for four years. We knew that it would come with a lot of challenges, we overcame all though.

What should we expect next year?

This is the smallest it would ever be. Next year will be a lot bigger, more structured and then, we will have more participation from bigger companies.

We are also looking at bringing investors in. Our major of success is to have international companies coming in to partner with local brands to make it a lot bigger than what it is now.

We will like to see our zobo, kunu packaged for local consumption and international exports.

Final words?

We appreciate the companies that have been part of this. We appreciate the sponsors, the media companies, YNaija, The Beats family, and all the people that made this happen.

We look forward to a more beneficial relationship in the future.

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