Heineken gears up to sell more than just beer in SA

Not a fan of beer, but keen to quaff other kinds of booze? If a deal between Dutch brewing company Heineken and SA company Distell goes through, you’ll see more wine, whiskey and brandy choices on the shelves. 🥂

Distell makes Savanna, JC Le Roux and other beverages. Heineken announced its decision to buy the local company earlier this month after recognising that South Africa has a rather vibrant alcohol market (you know it’s true) and will use the opportunity to expand its brand beyond beer and cider. The deal, which could also see Heineken buying Namibian Breweries, which makes Windhoek beer, will not only create growth opportunities within African markets, Reuters reported, but will also offer consumers more variety. If you’re wondering whether this acquisition may stifle competition in the market, analysts say it’s not a huge concern. Cheers to that! 🍻

Speaking of alcohol, remember when SARS introduced measures to prevent foreign diplomats from buying copious amounts of duty-free alcohol and tobacco from local retailers? Well, a recent court ruling snubbed the measures, returning these so-called privileges to foreign diplomats to continue buying as much duty-free alcohol and other products in SA. In June, SA expelled several diplomats from Malawi and Lesotho, accusing them of selling these items for a profit. The practice was costing our economy close to R100 million a month. 

The judge ruled in favour of four retailers who were making big bucks off the sales and who said the decision to limit alcohol and tobacco sales was made “arbitrarily and irrationally”. SARS says it is studying its options – it can appeal the ruling. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 25 November 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.