Mixed spirits in the African alcohol sector as restrictions continue

Alcohol is increasingly big business in Africa, but when Covid-19 struck, governments across the continent closed down bars and breweries to halt the spread of the disease in social environments and free up hospital rooms usually occupied by problem drinkers. Covid’s impact and government clampdowns led brewers to halt investment, deprived barley farmers of vibrant markets, and stymied the growth of international giants and local craft brewers alike. In South Africa, three controversial spells of prohibition, which have also seen retail sales banned, have decimated the continent’s biggest drinking market. Industry estimates suggest that the country has lost R14.2bn (nearly $1bn) in sales revenue and more than R7.8bn in taxes and excise duties in the period.

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