Red Stripe launches Injin Roots Wine in battle against GraceKennedy Harbour Wines & Spirits

Red Stripe has decided to makes Roots Wines (Jackson , 2017, August 9)…..with an Engineering Twist.

Dubbed Injin, the roots wine launch is really Red Stripe’s parent, Heineken, showing more confidence in their prodigy purchase.  However, as Engineering people know, Injin, is a play on the word “Engine” which is short for “Engineering”, our field as well as the sub-section of the SCIT department at UTECH.

Still, the idea is obvious; the drink conjures up images of going to someone’s backyard, a house, or a rooftop aka our “endz” and drinking this product. Not really trendy, just a Jamaican weekend after-work kinda thing. It’s how we Jamaicans are both inside and outside, especially on a weekend to quote Innovation and Digital Marketing Manager Rory Burchenson: “a mindset the driving factors that affect our daily lives, whether it be a house, money, a career, fashion, sex, etc. The name therefore speaks to what drives you internally”.

This comes a nearly six months after they had launched their 250ml cans of Lemon Paradise and Sorrel (The Jamaica Observer, 2017, February 8) apparently feeling super good after Christmas 2016!!!

Made with ginseng, sarsaparilla, herbs and alcohol, it’s more of a Roots wine than “Rootsy Drink” as Red Stripe would like you to think. Still, this is a fairly new market segment, with GraceKennedy (Deer, 2016, February) sneakily launching their push into this fledgling Roots Wines Industry a year ago in February 2016.

So the words of Rory Burchenson are quite justified, quote: “Red Stripe has created its own space. We have improved on the existing alcoholic bitters market, in which there really is one major player, by creating a supremely mixable and versatile liquid with truly natural ingredients”.

So how well has their push into this new market segment been going?

Red Stripe and Injin – Heineken’s 30% innovation budget to counter GraceKennedy Threat

According to Red Stripe, they’ve already sold some 100,000 cases of their alcoholic bitters locally. The product, which is made specifically for the Jamaican market, sells as follows:

  1. JA$90 for a drink
  2. JA$500 for the queue

Heineken is VERY CONFIDENT in their Red Stripe Brand, spending nearly 30% of their Profits via their innovation budget to attack the burgeoning Roots Wine Industry. Already they’ve been seeing double-digit growth in Red Stripe’s Beer portfolio in their second-quarter results in late July 2017, due mainly to sales growth resulted refocused marketing efforts in Jamaica and overseas markets.

This has come as a surprise for Heineken, as Red Stripe, in a global economy that is slowly being dominated by DIY Beer making upstarts such as SodaStream (Deer, 2016, June 15) and Craft beers. So 30% of anything over US$1 million is a HUGE SHOW OF CONFIDENCE.

The reason for this growth?

Their products are distinctly Jamaican and are slowly gaining support from Jamaicans as well as foreigners who love anything Jamaican ever since Usain Bolt and Bob Marley put us on the map, to quote: “In our international markets, Red Stripe has benefited from our authentic positioning in the USA, having repatriated the volumes to production in Jamaica along with trade focus in key regions; in the UK from driving new listings in the retail trade, and lastly opening up new international markets such as Brazil and Australia”.

Red Stripe promises to launch more beers and more products (Jackson, 2017, May 26), spending some  €12 million (JA$1.7 billion) on new products such as Lemon Paradise and Sorrel  as well as on replacing Hops in Beer (Cross, 2017,  May 8) with Cassava.

Still they have to move faster though; GraceKennedy has a serious head start and they need to come up with more Root Wine and Roots beer products……before the company famous for Vinnie Vienna and Remittances beats them over the head with a sausage and takes their market away from them.


  1. Deer, L. (2016, February). How GraceKennedy Harbour Wines & Spirits is a Trojan Horse for Roots Wines Industry. Retrieved from
  2. Deer, L. (2016, June 15). How SodaStream Beer Bar makes Home Brewing Easy as US Craft and Big Beer Breweries will Resist. Retrieved from
  3. The Jamaica Observer. (2017, February 8). Red Stripe Launches Cans Of Flavoured Beer. Retrieved from
  4. Cross, J. (2017, May 8). Red Stripe Goes Bigger With Cassava. Retrieved from
  5. Jackson, S. (2017, May 26). Red Stripe To Add New Production Line, More Beers. Retrieved from
  6. Jackson , S. (2017, August 9). Red Stripe Coins New Market Segment For Rootsy Drink Injin. Retrieved from






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