Not all cheer for bringing craft beers into supermarkets

Bottles of beer move along a production line. File Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/REUTERS

Bottles of beer move along a production line. File Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/REUTERS

Published Nov 21, 2023


Cape Town - A petition to bring craft beers to supermarket shelves has received mixed reactions from the public.

The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) launched the petition, which by on Monday had garnered 22 000 signatures.

It planned to hand over the petition to the government to change current legislation that prohibits the sale of beer in grocery stores.

Basa chief executive Patricia Pillay said craft brewers have not managed to fully recover since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These small businesses need opportunities to showcase their truly world-class brews and space on grocery store shelves will assist in this regard.

“Craft beers in supermarkets will also offer choice to shoppers and highlight how beer can also be a companion with food.

“It will open economic avenues by selling a beverage that is the lowest alcohol-by-volume across all categories,” said Pillay.

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance has opposed the idea, and in turn has launched its own petition, calling on the Liquor Act to remain unchanged.

“Currently South Africans who drink have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

“Statistics show that about one-third of people in South Africa aged 15 and above drink.

“However, of those who drink, two-thirds drink to the point of intoxication (binge drink), causing harm to themselves and others.

“This practice also diverts government resources away from development priorities like managing alcohol-related harm through policing, trauma admissions, social and disability grants and more.”

Helen Marie, 40, from Namibia and currently residing in Kraaifontein, said allowing the sale of alcohol in supermarkets was a bad idea, highlighting the attractiveness of alcohol to children.

Helen Marie

Her views were echoed by Sharon and Raymond Maree, both aged 52.

Sharon Maree
Raymond Maree

Raymond Maree said there were enough liquor stores around.

“It’s going to destroy the already savage world that we live in.

“It’s not going to make things any easier, it makes liquor more accessible, which in turn is going to lead to additional violence and alcohol abuse,” he said.

Nondumiso Makhene, aged 38, from KwaZulu-Natal living in Kraaifontein, said the sale of craft beer in stores provided an opportunity for small businesses to expand.

“People who are brewing wine are able to make a living, yet people in the beer industry are losing out on those consumers who are not familiar with going into a bottle store. I think it should be made available on both sides. If wine is available in supermarkets, beer should also be,” Makhene said.

Nondumiso Makhene

Charles Julies, 56, agreed with Makhene.

“It is a very good idea because there are many times you can’t find or get into a liquor store, because many liquor stores are small and too full, then you have to queue.

“For them to sell it at an ordinary supermarket, it will be fantastic,” Julies added.

Charles Julies

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Related Topics:

alcohol ban