Beer Association calls for intervention to keep COVID-battered industry alive

The Beer Association wants Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the industry.

FILE: SAB beer crates are being gathered as the Fenyane Bottle store prepares for alcohol sales to resume on 18 August 2020. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm. Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni. Picture: Sthembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Ahead of the Budget Speech next week, the Beer Association wants Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the industry.

The Beer Association said it had only been seven months since the most recent alcohol ban was lifted and businesses were struggling to get back on their feet after being forced to stay closed for a massive 161 days over a 16-month period.

This included craft breweries that managed to survive and the thousands of taverns in townships across the country who had received no financial relief from government.

The association warned that another excise increase above inflation could be the final nail in the coffin for these and other businesses across the beer value chain that were still trying to recover revenue lost during the alcohol sales bans.

This is compounded by other increases like fuel and electricity hikes.

Government has justified the alcohol sales bans by saying it helped protect the health system by reducing trauma cases when COVID-19 infections threatened to overwhelm hospitals but the association maintained authorities failed to provide scientific evidence.