Alcohol ban has South African distilleries pivoting to a new product

Alcohol ban has South African distilleries pivoting to a new product

The country has been locked out since March 26 in order to stop the spread of Covid-19, like many other places. But the rules are among the strictest in the world – you can only leave your home if you provide an essential service or if you have to get essential items like food or medicine. In addition to this, South Africa has banned the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, joining a shortlist of only three other countries: Thailand, Greenland and parts of Mexico.
According to the South African government, the decision to temporarily ban alcohol was influenced by concerns such as compromising the immune system, reducing inhibitions in social distancing and personal hygiene, and the very accusation serious to try to reduce incidents of domestic violence.

Despite calls from provincial liquor boards and other parties in South Africa to ease the alcohol ban, the government is sticking to its original plan. For the time being, the lock will remain in place until at least the end of April.

It is a blow to the South African economy, in particular the alcoholic beverage industry, which bears the brunt of these regulations. In 2018, a “Research and Markets” report estimated the country’s liquor industry at more than $ 583 million. The biggest market is the domestic market, and local producers like Inverroche Gin are already feeling the pinch.
Inverroche founder Lorna Scott brandishes a bottle of her company's gin.

“The sale, export, and even transportation of alcohol are expressly prohibited during the lockdown, and all restaurants and bars have been expressly ordered to close,” said Lorna Scott, founder and CEO of Inverroche Gin. “Our entire industry stopped overnight. Short-term and long-term budgets have lost all meaning.”

Inverroche Gin is one of the most successful and recognized brands of artisanal gin in South Africa, considered to be the pioneers of the craze for artisanal gin that has taken the country’s liquor industry by storm. Located in the seaside town of Stilbaai in the Western Cape, they are among a handful of local distilleries that have temporarily signed up as an essential service for making disinfectants – pivoting to an entirely new product, for now.

As the ban on the sale of alcohol in South Africa during the foreclosure continues, the local distillery, Inverroche, pivots and makes a hand sanitizer.

Usually her license authorizes the company to make only spirits, so she had to get a special government waiver to use her current stock of alcohol for the disinfectant. The South African Revenue Service also came on board, removing excise duties on the consumption of alcoholic beverages. And so, working with a skeleton team, under very strict regulations, Inverroche Gin started to make disinfectant.

Another famous South African brand, Distell, which makes several types of alcohol, including whiskey and brandy, has also committed 100,000 liters of alcohol to make a sanitizer.

Related article: Nigerian tailors make PPE by hand to fight coronaviruses

But, these products are not made to sell; instead, they are donated to vulnerable communities across South Africa.

“Inverroche is committed to producing hand sanitizers, in bulk and free of charge, based on the WHO recipe and using our base alcohol which was intended for the production of our gin, for workers in front line, “Scott told CNN. “(We are) a key driver of economic growth in our local municipality and this initiative allows us to stay in touch with the very people who have always supported us. This creates a sense of purpose for our own staff, and a trust and a confidence in our organization that we will weather this storm. ”

Inverroche Gin, in the Western Cape, is a local distillery considered one of the pioneers of the South African artisanal gin industry.
Other distilleries in places like the United States and Europe use their facilities for the production of disinfectants, as demand for this product and other items, such as face masks, has strained food chains. ‘traditional supply. While alcohol can be banned in South Africa, these brands show how the private sector can help the public sector fight Covid-19 while remaining solvent as a business.

“It can’t be business as usual,” says Scott. “To keep your business alive, you need to adapt to a new set of values ​​and a new business model that recognizes and prioritizes sustainable practices, and that embraces social and environmental responsibility.”

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