The storm clouds have seemingly parted for the booze industry, as South African Breweries (SAB) has announced its decision to pump billions back into South Africa. The move comes after a turbulent year, where alcohol bans and liquor restrictions decimated one of the cornerstones of our domestic economy.
SAB to make ‘huge investment’ in South Africa
In total, SAB will now invest R2 billion – just shy of $150 million – back into its home operations. That means we’re like to see brands like Black Label and Castle flow freely in the coming months, even as the onset of a third wave takes place. The rollercoaster year endured by liquor traders remains something of a sore-spot for industry titans.
SAB was forced to cancel a R2.5 billion investment for the 2020 financial year.In January 2021, the group cancelled another R2.5 billion of investment earmarked for 2021, blaming ‘alcohol bans’.This new round of investment, however, will compensate for 40% of the funding withdrawn during the pandemic.
‘Taking alcohol bans off the table a gamechanger’
Last week, South Africa slipped back into ‘Adjusted Level 2’ lockdown regulations. No alcohol bans were announced, and for SAB, this signalled the start of a constructive path forward. Without the threat of booze being suddenly yanked from the shelves, obstacles for trade and business have now been cleared.
SAB VP Finance and Legal, Richard Rivett-Carnac, explained to Reuters that the government’s switch to ‘clear communication’ allowed the business to generously part with its investment funds. As long as Cabinet opts for sales restrictions over outright alcohol bans, SAB will be happy to lead the domestic recovery.
“The move to implement reasonable measures, as we continue to navigate the pandemic, is a welcomed signal that we can expect to see more consultation in the future and that blanket bans will be a thing of the past. Further collaboration will provide the required confidence boost needed in order to attract further investment to the country.”