SAB might have to destroy 130 million litres of beer that it can’t bottle. Its breweries are already at the legal limit of the amount of alcohol they are allowed to keep on premises. It wants the government to grant it permission to move bottled beer to its depots – otherwise it may have to destroy the product. The transport of alcohol – apart from alcohol for export – is currently illegal under South Africa’s lockdown regulations.
SAB has not been brewing since March 23rd, nor has it or transported beer since the start of the hard Covid-19 lockdown on March 27th.
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.
“As the movement of alcohol is not permissible – the beer would in this unique instance need to be destroyed,”urgent action is needed to avoid material financial losses to both the government and SAB, as well as significant job losses,” the company said in the document.”
No bottling or distribution could take place, given that the beer is discarded, this would mean the loss of about 2,000 jobs – half of SAB’s frontline workforce.