Fake booze continues to affect the liquor industry

Fake booze found in Khayelitsha. Picture: Supplied.

Fake booze found in Khayelitsha. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jan 9, 2024


Cape Town - The SA Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) says the sale of fake alcohol brands affects the industry.

Salba CEO Kurt Moore said a study revealed that fake alcohol in South Africa is a R20.5 billion industry.

“The industry conducted research in 2021, based on 2020 data to assess the size and impact of illicit alcohol in South Africa.

“The research, conducted by Euromonitor, confirmed that the illicit alcohol trade in South Africa is valued at R20.5bn or 22% of the total alcohol market,” Moore said.

Moore said fake alcohol is categorised in the report as counterfeit and illicit brands, which includes substitution, where empty bottles of legitimate products are refilled with cheaper illicit alcohol.

“In this category, we also include industrial manufacturing of illicit brands which do not comply with the legal production requirements. These counterfeit and illicit brands account for 23% of the illicit alcohol in South Africa,” Moore explained.

At the weekend, law-enforcement officers stumbled upon an illegal distillery in Khayelitsha where people were allegedly dealing in, and manufacturing, alcohol.

The discovery led to several bottles of various alcohol brands like Old Buck Gin, Gordon’s Gin, Jameson Whiskey and Smirnoff Vodka.

The officers also found empty boxes of Gordon’s Gin bottles, bottle caps and stickers as well as 17 sealed 25-litre canisters containing chemicals.

Nine large canvas bags of empty Old Buck and Gordon’s Gin 750ml bottles, and Gordon’s Gin cardboard boxes were also discovered.

Moore said Salba does not condone the sale of fake alcohol because it does not comply with the requirements for production set out in the Liquor Products Act and it could pose a health risk for consumers.

“It also robs the fiscus on much-needed revenue due to the evasion of excise tax.”

He revealed: “The Euromonitor Report confirms that the fiscus loses R11.3bn in taxes – counterfeit and illicit brands account for 28% of that lost revenue.”

The SA Revenue Service didn’t respond to queries by deadline.

Meanwhile, the sale of counterfeit and illicit brands continues to affect the industry, as they compete unfairly in the marketplace.

“As mentioned previously, it impacts negatively on our government revenue and it could be potentially harmful to consumers,” Moore said.

The South African Liquor Brandowners Association says that the sale of illicit alcohol brands affects the industry. Picture:Supplied.

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