Non-alcoholic gin and beer flies under SA’s lockdown prohibition
Widely derided for many reasons, SA’s lockdown prohibiton has boosted the sale of craft non-alcoholic beer and gin, both skyrocketing during this time.
Under South Africa’s lockdown regulations, the unconditional sale of liquor will only be permitted when the country reaches Level 2 of its “risk adjusted strategy” to fight Covid-19. But products with less than 0.5% alcohol – officially classified as alcohol-free in the Liquor Products Act – are still allowed. And a few, mainly in the craft sector, have been quick to capitalise.
Johannes Le Roux, founder of non-alcoholic gin and tonic drink The Duchess, says their year-on-year sales have increased significantly in recent weeks.
“For April, and during the lockdown, we’ve seen a 150% increase in sales year on year, which is quite substantial,” Le Roux told Business Insider South Africa.
Online sales for The Duchess, driven through channels like YuppieChef and Takealot, have also increased dramatically.
“We’ve seen our online sales skyrocket. They’ve increased from 5% of our total sales, to about 25%,” says Le Roux.
Signal Hill Products, which manufactures a non-alcoholic beer in their Devil’s Peak range, says they’ve also seen a large spike in sales – most likely from people who would not necessarily have chosen non-alcoholic beers prior to lockdown restrictions.
“We have seen a significant increase in demand for both our Devil’s Peak non-alcoholic variants Hero and Hero Twist of Citrus,” general manager for marketing Elizanne Rauch told Business Insider South Africa.
Rauch says their month on month increase for this product from March to April was more than 350%.
The increased interest has also opened new channels for the growing brewery.
“Not only have we experienced increased sales in our regular stockists Devil’s Peak Hero, we have also seen more outlets list our product nationally,” says Rauch.
Both Rauch and Le Roux credit the spike in sales to consumers looking for substitutes for their depleted alcohol supplies – and some quick product repositioning by supermarkets.
“At first we were a bit skeptical that we would see any huge increase, because liquor stores are traditionally our biggest clients,” says Le Roux. “But what we’ve also managed to do working very closely with the retailers is to move our products from the liquor stores over into the grocery stores.”
A spokesperson for Checkers told Business Insider said this product repositioning actually started at the end of last year – but it is one that has paid off during lockdown.
“Non-alcoholic beverages were moved into the beverage aisle in Checkers supermarkets last year. There has been a tremendous spike in the sale of non-alcoholic beverages during the national lockdown.”….