The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) has raised concerns that over 85% of craft brewers are at risk of shutting down permanently due to the negative economic impact of the third ban on alcohol.
The Craft Brewers Association of South Africa has conducted a survey, showing that a large number of liquor traders are experiencing dire financial situations under the current lockdown restrictions.
Under the adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown, the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol have been banned.
Basa CEO Patricia Pillay has called on government to consider easing the total ban on the sale of alcohol.
“There is an expiry to beer. So, remember every time that we get locked down, it affects the stock that we have on hand. With not knowing with the last lockdown, the stock that we had on hand for the new year is now close to expiring, which has to be discarded. What we have put forward is to say that at least increase the off-consumption sales of alcohol and allow that to happen and keep some ban in place in terms of curfew as well as social gatherings,” says Pillay.
In the audio below, Pillay talks about the risks of brewers shutting down due to the alcohol ban:
Detrimental impact on economy
Basa also says the ban on alcohol does more harm to the economy than good.
Basa CEO Patricia Pillay says the previous two bans had a devastating impact on the beer industry with 7 400 job losses, R14.2 billion lost in sales revenues and 30% of breweries being forced to shut their doors.
She says government also lost 7.4% in taxes and excise duties that could have been used in the fight against COVID-19.
In the video below, Basa laments the alcohol ban, saying it will cost jobs and increase illicit sales:
Request for at home consumption
Meanwhile, the Liquor Traders Formation (LTF) has since called on the government to permit the sale of alcohol for at-home consumption, subject to limitations.
The LTF says this will further support government efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus as it will encourage the consumption of liquor at home whilst ensuring the livelihoods of liquor traders.
The LTF says the ban affects more than one million employees in the industry and more than 250 000 families.