Beer industry welcomes lifting of third alcohol ban after 100+ days of trade restrictions

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE BEER ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA 

1 February 2021 

The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) welcomes the lifting of the third blanket ban on alcohol, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation this evening. This follows BASA’s multiple pleas to government for urgent intervention, in order to ensure both the survival of the industry, as well as the survival of small businesses and craft breweries, who find themselves on the brink of closure. 

The President has indicated that trading may resume according to the following restrictions – the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is to be permitted from Monday to Thursday, from 10:00 – 18:00, while micro-breweries will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption during their licenced operating hours. Restaurants will be permitted to sell alcohol for on-site consumption from 10:00 – 22:00. 

While these restrictions still limit the beer sector’s recovery, we are relieved to be able to begin trading again. While there is no guarantee that our craft brewers will recover, the President has offered small businesses a glimmer of hope – although it may be too little too late for some. 

The situation faced by small business owners and craft brewers remains dire – the last two alcohol bans had a devastating impact on the beer industry, with an estimated 7 400 jobs lost, R14.2 billion in lost sales revenue and more than a R7.8 billion loss in taxes and excise duties. Survey results from the Craft Brewer’s Association of South Africa indicate that 87.5% of craft brewers are still at risk of permanent closure – and with zero targeted relief from government, this will likely become a reality. 

BASA has written to the Presidency and to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), to reiterate our call for urgent government intervention to save jobs and small businesses within our sector. To date, the industry has not been able to secure a meeting with Minister Patel or 

the Presidency to deal with this dire matter. BASA would like to reiterate that there is a desperate need for payment deferrals, financial relief, and liquor licence automatic renewals for 2021, if we are to have any hope of saving the businesses that remain standing. 

BASA remains aware of the severity of the crisis we face as nation as we battle Covid-19, and understands the great difficulties faced by both government and citizens as the virus spreads. And while we support all efforts to curb the infection rate, we need to work together to ensure that we are able to save both lives and livelihoods in this fight. 

BASA will remain committed to working with government to ensure the safe and responsible trading and consumption of alcohol, and will continue to implement measures to save lives without sacrificing livelihoods. It is critical that government and the industry work together transparently and in constant communication with each other to come up with solutions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – while ensuring we safeguard businesses and livelihoods across the beer sector. 

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