Imagine having to pour more than 400 million bottles of beer down the drain because the South African authorities would not allow it to be transported to warehouses for safekeeping in these days of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.This is exactly the situation that South African Breweries (SAB) finds itself in as it is unable to package and transport its beer stocks between its depots and warehouses, the brewer said on Thursday.
“We risk losing 400 million bottles worth of beer in our current liquid inventory because it remains at full capacity for at least four months,” the SAB said.
This means the SAB would need to dump 130 million litres of beer which equates to 400 million bottles at a cost of US$8.82 million, the company added.
It explained: “For SAB to be able to continue packing the current brew, they have to be able to transport the alcohol to SAB owned warehouses for safekeeping.”
It said it is not legally allowed to store brewed beer once it reaches a certain capacity.
Once breweries reach permissible limits, the alcohol needs to be stored on offsite but at SAB-owned facilities.
“As the movement of alcohol is not permissible – the beer would in this unique instance need to be destroyed,” the SAB said.
The SAB pleaded with the government to allow it to move the beer inventory to warehouses during the six-week lockdown.