SAB may be forced to destroy 400 million bottles of beer
SA Breweries (SAB) – owner of Castle Lager, Hansa, and Black Label – says it may be forced to destroy more than 130 million litres of beer if it is not allowed to transport the brew to its depots.
The transport of alcohol – apart from alcohol for export – is currently illegal under South Africa’s lockdown regulations. All sale of alcohol is also prohibited.
SAB has not been brewing since March 23, nor has it or transported beer since the start of the hard Covid-19 lockdown on March 27.
But as part of “the orderly wind down” of its business during lockdown, a small group of staff have been fermenting and bottling alcohol. SAB is not legally allowed to store brewed beer at its brewery facilities above a certain capacity, which it has now reached.
Currently, SAB has around 132 million litres of beer – roughly the equivalent of 400 million bottles of beer – sitting in its tanks, which it can’t bottle due to the restrictions on alcohol capacity at its breweries.
In a presentation to government, SAB said that if it is not allowed to transport beer within the next day or so, it will be forced to discard this inventory, at a loss of an estimated R150-million.
“As the movement of alcohol is not permissible – the beer would in this unique instance need to be destroyed,” the company said. Netwerk24 reports that SA Breweries sent a proposal to the department of trade and industry on Tuesday, asking that it be allowed to transport packaged beer from its breweries to its storage depots…..
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