South African Breweries decries suspension of alcohol trading

South African Breweries (SAB), a major brewery headquartered in Johannesburg, and a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, has cried out against the ban imposed on the sales and distribution of alcohol beverages in the country, stating that the ban would be putting over 1 million livelihoods across its value chain at risk.

In a published statement, SAB stated: “As brewers we enable socialization and champion responsible consumption. Thousands of our employees have enabled us to step up our fight against the pandemic, proposing and implementing several interventions that if implemented along with other social measures, would support the objective of flattening the curve, saving lives and simultaneously protecting livelihood.”

The latest ban imposed by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa on 29th December 2020 was considered to be a way to reduce pressure on hospitals that are battling with an intake of Covid-19 patients as a result of failure to adhere to health protocols and the attendance of social gatherings, which increased the risk of infection; saying people wore masks only to gain entry to venues, then neglected keeping them on and sanitizing.

In late March 2020, the country implemented the first ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol and tobacco as a way of curbing the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. The ban was later lifted in August. South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa and ranks 5th on world statistics. Alcohol and tobacco producers and retailers lamented that the restrictions have resulted in thousands of job losses amongst others.

“We cannot agree that our sector is continuously criminalized and called out as the most significant cause of the recent increase in cases in South Africa. Our industry, our colleagues and our families cannot be discriminated against. We judge this as not only unfair, but that it disregards the more than 125 years of effort and dedication we have delivered together,” SAB continued.

Established in 1895, Johannesburg South Africa, South African Breweries is a direct subsidiary of the multinational brewery giant, Anheuser-Busch InBev. The company’s brands include Carling Black Label, Castle Lager, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout and many more.


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