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Table of content
Rationale behind the ban
Unintended consequences

South africa’s alcohol ban during the covid-19 pandemic

South africa’s alcohol ban during the covid-19 pandemic Reading Time
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South africa’s alcohol ban during the covid-19 pandemic Word Count
3,979 Words
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Table of content


This investigation aims to explore how the alcohol ban during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa impacted the social wellbeing of individuals. When COVID-19 cases started to rise in South Africa in 2020, a lockdown was enforced which included a travel ban, social distancing, and a ban of alcohol nationwide. The reasoning behind this ban was to reduce the numbers of alcohol related accidents in attempts to preserve the capacity of the health system and cope with COVID-19 patient loads. (Ngqangashe et al. 2) The reason why South Africa has been selected is because banning alcohol was a peculiar response to COVID-19, and I aim to determine how effective this response was and because the alcohol industry is a major industry in South Africa and is the seventh biggest wine producer in the world. (“South Africa Liquor Industry Report 2021”) In addition, South Africa ranks as fifth highest alcohol consumption rate in the world. (“South Africa has some of the heaviest drinkers in the world”) Therefore, there is significant demand for alcohol in South Africa, especially during a period where everyone was at home. Therefore, this unusual response to the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted thousands of people. The people impacted vary from producers to wholesalers to consumers. Hence, this research will be focused on a large variety of people during this specific time period. However, the investigation will be mainly focused on the producers, consumers, and society. There are many factors that influence the demand for alcohol such as price, lifestyle and income. The expected outcome for the alcohol ban was to enhance the wellbeing of individuals, however, as will be investigated, the actual outcome of the ban was that the wellbeing remained unchanged or potentially even worsened.


This research is linked to the economic theory of market failure, specifically externalities, inelasticity, and inequality. Social wellbeing is a measure of life satisfaction. Factors that contribute to the social wellbeing of individuals includes measures of GDP per capita, financial, and social stability, employment and how safe one feels among many other aspects. For this investigation, I will measure wellbeing in terms of income, health and the ability to feel stable.


This research question will be explored through a combination of primary and secondary research. Primary research was conducted through an online interview in June 2022 with a liquor store owner in Johannesburg, South Africa. The liquor store owner was questioned about the changes in revenue, accessibility to alcohol and government contribution during the confinement. Since the research is focused on wellbeing of all individuals, this interview aims to find out the purchasing patterns and the production of alcohol. Secondary research was conducted through online research for internet articles about alcohol bans in a variety of countries and the impacts that it had on the government and on individuals. The secondary research will aid in exploring the impacts of the ban and is not opinion based, as is the primary research. From this information, wellbeing can be analysed based on company revenue, worker’s salaries, percentage of income spent on alcohol and hospitalization figures.


Only one retailer was interviewed which may limit the certainty and range of responses and effects of the alcohol ban. In addition, the retailer may be biased in his answers in order to present a better reputation and appearance for their shop whereas, how the shop was truly run during the pandemic would affect the accuracy of the impacts.

Rationale behind the ban

Unlike many other countries, during the COVID-19 lockdown South Africa took the approach of implementing intermittent restrictions of alcohol sales nationwide. The alcohol ban took place from March 26 2020 until May 31 2020, and then it was reintroduced from mid-July to mid-August 2020. The reasoning behind this ban was to reduce the numbers of alcohol related accidents in attempts to preserve the capacity of the health system and cope with COVID-19 patient loads. (Ngqangashe et al. 2) The government also shut down the alcohol production industry as alcohol was not classified as a necessity good. The government believed that the consumption of alcohol was an agent for the disease to spread because in many cases, drinking alcohol is a group leisure activity and people often tend to share their drinks, and this did not obey the social distancing regulations. In theory the method of restricting alcohol supply would be effective in reducing the overconsumption of alcohol and the numbers of people admitted to hospitals due to alcohol related incidents.



Shop owners also suffered from the alcohol ban. There were different stages of the lockdown that the government would regulate and announce when the stages changed. The stages were numbered from alert level 1 to alert level 5, and there were varying restrictions at each level. At alert levels 5 and 4, selling alcohol was prohibited. However, at alert levels 2, and 3 it was permitted but at limited times. The alert level changed 13 times (Covid-19 / Coronavirus”) over the span of 2 years, from 2020 to 2022, see figure 1.

Figure 1 - Timeline Of Events Of Bans And Trading Hour Restriction Of Alcohol Sales Across The Different Levels Of The COVID-19 Lockdowns. (Ngqangashe et al. 3).

Due to the alert levels changing so often, it created uncertainty for shop owners, producers, and consumers. Shop owners were uncertain of whether to keep their staff or to retrench them because they did not know how long the alcohol ban would be in effect. They were also uncertain of whether to risk joining the illegal market so they make some profit or if they should be safe and wait for the ban to be lifted again. This created remarkable amount of stress for the shop owners and the workers, furthermore, negatively impacting the livelihood of earning an income for workers.


Many retailers and restaurants decided to take the risk and join the illegal market when the second ban on alcohol sales was imposed. The vineyards just outside Cape Town transformed into bootleggers and restaurants across the country turned into speakeasies, serving rose out of teacups and Pinot Noir from coffee mugs. (Wexler 1) A winemaker at a small, family-owned Stellenbosch winery said that “We had to do it to keep paying salaries”. (Wexler 1) Retailers, restaurants and wineries found that this was the only way for their companies to survive the alcohol ban since furlough- a temporary release of a worker from their job- from the government was not significant (Martin) and exporting their goods was nearly impossible. An owner of a liquor store in South Africa claims that he “got interest free loans from a private organization. We got some tax relief from the government, but the relief was not significant. We were still negative after that”. (Martin) Even with interest free loans from a private organization, they were still negative, this suggests that companies who did not earn an interest free loan were more significantly impacted.


A consequence of the alcohol ban on the retailers and producers is that they still have not returned to their initial amounts of exports before the ban was imposed. Customers from around the globe are reluctant to purchase from South African alcohol retailers since they are not reliable. This could mean that the future of the wine industry in South Africa might be jeopardised because they are so unreliable and this might lead to consequences in the future such as lower GDP as exports are a component of GDP, and exports of alcohol- a large portion of South Africa’s exports- would be reduced. Wellbeing in terms of the ability to earn income may be damaged in the long-run because exports may be hindered in the long-run.


The wine production industry is large in South Africa, employing 290,000 people and the liquor industry overall accounts for approximately 1 million jobs. (Wexler 1) However, when the pandemic began thousands of jobs were lost in the alcohol industry as well as thousands of Rand lost in revenue and in tax revenue since no tax was being collected for the consumption or production of alcohol as well as from direct taxes. This meant that income could not be redistributed from the collection of taxes and hence increasing the already large amount of inequality in the country. It is estimated that the industry lost 21,000 jobs and 7 billion South African Rand in revenue. (Wexler 1) The wellbeing of the individuals who lost their jobs significantly decreased because of the loss of income, negative phycological and physical consequences that are associated with unemployment such as increased stress levels and increased uncertainty about the future. The alcohol industry was heavily impacted by the lockdown since it includes both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.


Furthermore, the wine industry suffered since wine cannot be stored in the barrels for a long period of time, some wine can only be stored in the barrels for up to a few days. (Martin) This meant that thousands of South African Rands were spent on wine that would have to be thrown away once the workers were allowed to access the barrels again. This caused the companies to lose even more revenue and profit than they already lost due to the lockdown in the first place.


Alcohol production is in the primary and secondary sector suggesting that the workers do not earn very high salaries. This became an issue when thousands of workers lost their jobs because that meant that many of them did not have the financial support that was needed to maintain their lives, meaning that their social well-being was deteriorating. The South African government did not provide significant furlough or unemployment benefits to the companies and the workers, meaning that many workers were left with nothing as aforementioned. They might not be able to get these jobs back because of the reduced demand for the South African wine due to the loss of export competitiveness caused by the unreliability that some countries saw. This could eventually lead to a higher crime rate in a country that already has a high rate of crime and could also lead to higher poverty numbers since the workers who were retrenched had to continue paying rent, taxes and purchasing the basic necessities such as food. The crime rate in South Africa did decrease during the pandemic, statistics indicate that murders reduced by 72%, rape by 87.2%, assault dropped by 85.2% and attempted murder was down by 65.9% (“5 Myths”). This may suggest that the ban was successful. This decrease in crime rate was effective in improving the security of the country and thus improving their social wellbeing. However, these reductions in the crime rate are not necessarily linked to the ban of alcohol because the lockdown could have resulted in less crime with or without the alcohol ban.


Furthermore, this led to an increase in the extreme inequality because the income distribution worsened. It is assumed that majority of the people who work in the tertiary sector could continue working through online resources whereas the alcohol production industry was completely shut down for months at a time. This meant that the rich were less affected by the rising alcohol prices than the poor since the alcohol prices took a larger percentage of the income of the poor.


South Africa is ranked as the most unequal country in the world according to the Gini index. (“South Africa Most Unequal Country in the World: Report”) The Gini index is a measure of income distribution across a population. This can be shown using a Lorenz curve. The Lorenz curve shows the distribution of income and wealth in a country compared to perfect equality. The graph shows that South Africa is exceptionally far away from perfect equality due to the unbalanced distribution of income.

Figure 2 - Lorenz Curve For South Africa Pre And Post-Pandemic

The increase in inequality in South Africa has caused the Lorenz curve to shift to the right. This occurs because the further away the curve is to the 45o perfect equality line, the more inequality there is in the country. This shift in the curve would also cause the Gini coefficient to increase because the equation of the Gini coefficient is


Gini coef ficient = \(\frac{Area A}{AreaA+AreaB}\)


Where A is area between the perfect equality line and the country’s line and B is the area between the country’s line and the x-axis. Looking at the Gini coefficient, it has increased which indicated inequality has increased. This is proven because the Gini coefficient of South Africa in 2018 was 0.577 (“South Africa-GINI Index”) and in 2020 the Gini coefficient reached up to 0.63. (“20 countries”) Regardless, it cannot be assumed that the Gini coefficient increased because of the ban. However, it is certain that the loss in incomes of workers on wine farms and alcohol manufacturing workers were part of the reason of inequality increasing.


Due to the large inequality gap in South Africa, it creates potential for poverty, especially relative poverty. The inequality in South Africa is still largely caused by issues of race. These issues create trouble for people of colour to access proper education which might further affect them in life by not having a high-paying job and hence making them feel unsafe.

Illegal market

An illegal market is economic activity that takes place outside of the government’s supervision since the transactions are not recorded. Illegal markets do not obey the government laws and regulations. Corruption in South Africa is a major issue that has been present since the colonisation of the country in the 1600s. (Friedman) The country is so corrupt that policemen would take alcohol away from people selling the alcohol illegally and then the policeman would resell the alcohol to new customers to make a profit. (Martin) Since purchasing from the illegal market was the only method of gaining access to alcohol, the vendors were able to raise their prices since there was a surplus of demand.

Figure 3 - Alcohol In South Africa Before And After The Ban

This graph shows the legal and illegal market for alcohol. Through the ban, the supply of alcohol is eradicated and hence the legal market no longer exists. The supply curve in the illegal market is inelastic because producers are not permitted to increase their volumes of alcohol because it is illegal and therefore, they do not have the same production capacity. Therefore, the demand for alcohol shifts left, the demand should eradicate but because alcohol is an addictive product, it does not. However, demand for alcohol does become more price inelastic because the people who are willing to purchase the alcohol are the ones who are desperate for it and thus the consumers are not responsive to the change in price. As seen from figure 3, the price of alcohol increases when it moves to the illegal market as well as the quantity decreasing. Since the supply of the alcohol was so limited there was potential for an illegal market to arise.


The illegal market affected people’s well-being because the prices were remarkably higher, meaning that it took a larger percentage of people’s already limited income. It was expected that the higher prices would have a regressive effect on low-income households since it would take a majority of their income to purchase a small amount of alcohol. It also affected people’s well-being because those who did purchase alcohol illegally from the underground market were in fear of being caught with illegally purchased and consumed alcohol since it was not only illegal to purchase it, but also to consume it. The consequences of purchasing the alcohol illegally were risks of fines and even jail time.

Figure 4 - Negative Externality Of Alcohol Consumption

Some of the negative externalities of the consumption of alcohol include alcohol-related accidents and violence. The graph presented represents where the socially optimum level to consume alcohol is (Q* and P*) compared to where alcohol is being consumed (Q1 and P1). Therefore, this creates a negative externality of consumption since the marginal social cost exceeds the marginal private cost. Previously, the distance from Q* to Q1, was the overconsumption of alcohol which resulted in 34,000 hospital beds being used. (Mitchley) However, once the ban was imposed those 34,000 beds were freed up which is represented by the shift of D1 to D2 and hence the negative externality of consumption is internalized.

Loss in revenue

For the South African alcohol industry, it was predicted that 13 billion South African rand in wholesale revenue, 3.5 billion South African rand in excise tax revenue and 9 billion South African rand from wine exports would be lost. (Ngarava et al.) In total, it was estimated that South Africa’s alcohol industry lost 36.3 billion South African rand in retail sales revenue.

Figure 5 - Loss In Revenue After Alcohol Ban

Figure 5 represents the loss in government revenue and producer revenue after the alcohol ban was imposed. Without the alcohol market existing anymore, the ZAR 3.5 billion was no longer able to be collected. Without this extra tax revenue, the government is no longer collecting money that could be spent on contributions to social projects, for example the health sector.

Figure 6 - Revenue Loss Of Alcohol Industry In South Africa (Kew And Bowker)

Figure 6 represents the total potential revenue from excise duties that was lost by the alcohol industry in South Africa. The excise duties that were collected for 9 months in 2019 is remarkably exceeding that collected in the whole of 2020. The difference in the excise duties of beer is the largest suggesting that beer is the most produced beverage.

Figure 7 - AD-AS Model Of South Africa

In South Africa, the decrease of aggregate demand was a major problem because they are exporters of alcohol. South Africa exports about 38% of the wine they produce to other countries. (“Macro-Economic Impact” 26) However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were intermittent regulations of exporting and transporting liquor. It was difficult to export the goods because there were times where companies were allowed to export their products, but they were not allowed to transport liquor, so they were not able to get their products to the port in order to export them. (Martin) Confidence was so low that people were not willing to invest, instead they were saving their money, which decreases AD. Therefore, there were very limited injections into the economy which prohibited economic growth. By prohibiting economic growth, profitability and innovation is also being put on hold for the country’s economy. This affects all individuals since it may prevent medical and technological breakthroughs from occurring. Although AD would have naturally decreased because of the pandemic where consumption, exports, investments etc. decreased, the situation was made worse by the ban and decreased AD more than expected.


Many companies went bankrupt during this period because they could not sustain the amount of loss they were facing. While usually when a company is facing losses, they tend to sell their business to a competitor or selling assets, this was not a big opportunity during the lockdown since confidence was so low, no one wanted to start up a new business or purchase new products. This could suggest that people may have had difficulties selling their businesses if they no longer wanted to keep it running.

Unintended consequences

An unintended consequence of the beer production being slowed down was that the marmite production also slowed down. Marmite is a popular savoury spread that is largely produced in South Africa. It is made from the by-products of brewing beer. Marmite production slowing down caused an additional loss of revenue in the South African economy since the alcohol ban severely impacted the industries that were not in the alcohol industry.

Figure 8 - Market For Marmite After The Ban

The slowed down production of marmite caused the supply of marmite to shift left from S1 to S2. This resulted in higher prices of the marmite since there was a shortage of the good. The lack of marmite due to the alcohol ban affected the workers in the marmite production industry for a long time and is still somewhat affecting them now because the stores are still struggling to supply adequate amount of marmite. (Daniel) Individuals at home were also impacted because they were unable to access new jars of marmite. Marmite is a cheap spread that is a staple food in many low to middle-income households since it is a source of vitamin B which is vital, which means that the shortage may have affected people’s wellbeing in terms of their daily diet and health. However, marmite has many other cheap substitutes such as vegemite or nutritional yeast therefore it could easily be replaced.


Although data of South Africa was not found, India, who had a similar alcohol ban response, had deaths due to consuming hand sanitizer and one can assume that it would not be dissimilar in South Africa. 54 people in India reportedly died by consuming toxic chemicals due to the non-availability of alcohol. (Khadse and Murthy) There was also a risk of people brewing alcohol at home since it was cheaper and more accessible, the risk of brewing alcohol at home is that one cannot easily control the percentage of alcohol that is produced, this could lead to consequences such as losing eyesight and sometimes even death, negatively impacting individual’s health and thus their wellbeing. These deaths could potentially cause higher hospitalization numbers overall. The extent to how much illegal alcohol was consumed and the consequences of it are not yet fully determined.

Benefits of the ban

The alcohol ban could have been beneficial in a variety of ways. To begin, it might have helped some addicts to come to terms with their addiction and even helped some of them recover. Banning alcohol helps to reduce the negative externalities of consumption that are associated with the consumption of alcohol to a certain extent since some people might choose to stop drinking and therefore lose the habit. The ban also helped free up hospital beds which was the main aim of the ban. The impact of this is that it improved social wellbeing in the aspect that health of individuals increased which is implied by less hospitalizations. In addition, there is an opportunity cost in alcohol production. If alcohol production decreases, it creates more opportunity for more investment into other industries such as the education sector or the healthcare. This would increase one’s social wellbeing by providing more opportunities for a higher standard of living.

Figure 9 - Number Of Reported COVID-19 In-Hospital Deaths, By Health Sector And Epidemiologic Week, South Africa, 5 March 2020- 23 July 2022. (National Institute for Communicable Diseases)

From this graph, it can be seen that there were many spikes in the number of reported COVID- 19 in-hospital deaths over the course of the 2 years. The most intense spike was in the first week of 2021 where the alcohol ban was lifted but there was a curfew. This could suggest that alcohol consumption negatively impacted the in-hospital COVID-19 deaths and that the ban seemed to have worked in protecting people’s health. However, these figures may have risen during that time since it is a time of celebration where people come together to enjoy the holidays implying that there will be more transmissions of COVID-19. There are also some other factors that influence the COVID-19 deaths such as vaccine availability and new variants. In addition, this graph only accounts for the in-hospital deaths that were reported. People who died due to alcohol related incidents are not included in this graph and neither are the people who did not pass away in the hospital.


Nevertheless, hospitals in South Africa had reported dramatic drops in trauma cases. Before the lockdown and the alcohol availability restrictions in the country, the hospitals saw an estimated of 35,000 weekly admissions. But since the lockdown and alcohol sales ban it is suggested that hospital trauma admissions have decreased by 66%. (“Alcohol sales”) Therefore, the alcohol ban could be said to be justified because it achieved its aim of relieving pressure off the healthcare system. However, this could be a consequence of the combination of the ban and the lockdown itself.




The initial research question asked how the alcohol ban during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa impacted the social wellbeing of individuals. Ultimately, this question can be answered by stating that overall, the alcohol ban in South Africa was not as successful as expected because there was a large amount of alcohol being sold in the hidden market, which defeated the intention of the alcohol ban. It caused people to make irrational decisions, some of which ended in death. These factors negatively impacted the social wellbeing of people since it made them feel unsafe, significant amounts of income was lost and deteriorated individuals health in some cases. However, the main aim of the ban was achieved in reducing the pressure on the healthcare system and freeing up hospital beds. 34,000 hospital beds were made available so therefore it could be said that the ban was successful but there were unintended consequences that followed the imposing of the ban.


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Primary research interview with liquor store owner (Martin) transcript :


Question 1 - How did the COVID-19 lockdown and alcohol ban impact your business?


Answer to question 1 - So, for context, we are a reseller of alcohol products, so we do not actually manufacture alcohol, we are not a wholesaler. And in our case, actually, we didn't do badly because what happened was, there was an initial period of two weeks that was supposed to be the lockdown, the initial lockdown, where alcohol was banned, and then that ban was extended for another two weeks, and then another two weeks. So, people thought, two weeks is fine, I will cope, I've got enough stock. And then after four weeks they had almost run out of stock, six weeks, they have nothing left. And so, they started to get desperate. So, what happened is a lot of customers started ordering products from our online store, fearing that there would be a shortage once the ban was lifted, which indeed was the case. So, they thought of placing orders on our online store. So, we actually had a surge in demand at the end of the first lockdown, huge spike. Maybe even double triple what our normal monthly turnover would have been. So enough to more than make up for the period that we were locked down for. And then, I think what happened was for a period of time, people started to fear another lockdown when the second wave came. So, they started stocking up. So, we had these kinds of peaks in demand. From a retail perspective, it wasn't terrible. I think the businesses that suffered were those that had to manufacture products. For example, beer production stopped, and had to shut down a production line and to get it back up and running again. We had big shortages of beer after that in those phases between the lockdowns. Obviously, we still had some difficulties, and our business would have run smoother if there was no lockdown, but because people were so desperate to buy alcohol, we were able to illegally sell it. However, certainly there were others in the value chain that suffered much more.


Question 2 - I am assuming you lost some money during this lockdown.


Answer to question 2 - Yes, we lost a significant amount of money. Because we had to carry on paying our staff, we had to pay our electricity bills. We had expenses over that time such as insurance, those kinds of expenses you can't just switch off. Some did, we chose not to, we just felt like it would be unfair on our staff to not pay them. And we'd rather taken that loss ourselves rather than put our staff on the streets.


Question 3 - And did you receive any furlough from the South African government?


Answer to question 3 - Yes, we got interest free loans from a private organization. We got some tax relief from the government for a period of time, but the relief wasn't significant. However, we were still negative after that. 


Question 4 -  Were some consumers still able to purchase alcohol from yourself and other retailers?


Answer to question 4 - Yes, customers were still able to buy alcohol, especially through the illegal market due to the corruption in the country. The country is so corrupt that policemen would take away the alcohol from people that were selling it illegally, and then the policemen would resell the alcohol again so that he would make some profit as well. I think as the lockdowns progressed, there were more and more kind of anomalies if you want to call them that. People were just frustrated with the restrictions, and not believing in the benefits of the lockdown. I think you must look across the demographics of South Africa. The reason why we had the lockdowns was because the government felt that hospital beds and medical resources were being used up by people abusing alcohol. In other words, landing up in hospital because of a pedestrian getting knocked over by a car or beaten a spouse to the point where they needed medical care. And so, the government's view was that use or abuse of alcohol was what was causing hospital beds and resources to be used up, which we couldn't afford, because we needed those beds for COVID patients. And our market segment that we operate in is a much higher end. So, people that buy products from us, are the minority. People who are buying from us are collectors and wine aficionados and so that they were not buying to consume the alcohol immediately. They might have wanted to top up some beers or some gin or some sort of easy drinking wines. My customers also have the means to stock up on alcohol in between the lockdowns which was less easy for someone who is living from week to week on a wage. So, in that respect, perhaps the lockdown, did actually help because if you've been paid on a Friday, and liquor sales are only from Monday to Thursday, then that money might have been spent elsewhere by the time liquor sales resumed on a Monday, your wife might have taken the money from you. The opportunities for abuse were definitely less. But it was definitely a sledgehammer approach. It had devastating consequences for the industry or the wine farms. I know personally of a lot of people that were retrenched over that time. And you can't just look at liquor in the context of in our case, retail outlet. Liquor is supplied in restaurants, supplied in in taverns, and many in that environment. And nobody would go to a restaurant if they couldn't have a glass of wine with an evening meal. They would rather stay at home and drink that wine with a meal. So, it impacted heavily on restaurants and taverns so a lot of those closed down and still haven't reopened. And every time I went into a restaurant before the pandemic, I looked at just how many people are employed. It's significant. If you went into a restaurant, you might have found 150 employees on the floor at any point. That had a massive impact on employment and that hasn't completely fixed itself yet. And a big chunk of that was about alcohol not being served in restaurants. But I suppose there were two reasons, one because people could not go into a restaurant and drink a glass of wine and the other, I suppose people didn't want to go into a public space and sit close to other people that might infect them. So yeah, but both had an impact on those livelihoods and therefore employment.


Question 5 - Very interesting, and did you and other stores raise your prices on your products to compensate for the loss that was made?


Answer to question 5 - We did, we raised the prices by around 20%, which was not a significant amount, but it somewhat helped us still be able to pay our workers and pay the rent etc. But I know that other retailers raised their prices by a larger percentage. We also focused largely on our online store. During the lockdowns, we hosted online wine tastings, where customers could sit and listen at four o'clock on a Friday afternoon when people had had enough of their work meetings and are willing to kick back and listen to an interesting story told by a winemaker so we kind of generated revenue for ourselves in advance of the unlocking by hosting these wine tastings, taking orders online, offering discounts on that day while the talk was going on. So people would buy the wines and then we would deliver it to their homes. So we were able to kind of get back up and running quite quickly again. However, some firms did not. Some didn't make an effort online or make that transition to digital like we did. And one of the things I've noticed throughout this COVID period with the lockdowns and particularly those harsh lockdowns where we had to stay at home, companies that weren't digital, battled much more than those that had made that transition. And then, even those that weren't digital before accelerated that digital. It's forced us all to up our game in terms of being more online being more mobile. Understanding customer behavior in the online world, treating it as more central to our customer value proposition rather than kind of something on the side of a physical store.


Question 6 - And were there any customers who approached you willing to buy alcohol?


Answer to question 6 - Very much so. So much so that I couldn't even go to our local grocery store to go and do my shopping without people approaching me and like, “I'm so happy to see you how is your family doing? Do you have any liquor to sell?” I had to tell my husband to go do the grocery shopping for me because it became too much. My phone also rang nonstop from longtime friends who were willing to purchase some alcohol. But yes, there was quite a lot of desperation. Alcohol is a valuable product, and I think many might not have a problem with alcohol, but they certainly have a dependency and take it on a regular basis. A glass of wine with dinner. Having your family over for barbecue there is always beer, wine, gin involved. But yeah, it was a big lifestyle adjustment, and I think later in the process, it will happen again and again. People that weren't abusing alcohol felt angry about why would the government impose this on us when we're not the ones taking up hospital beds, we're not drinking to excess. And certainly, if I look at it from a government perspective, it was devastating, they lost billions and billions of Rands tax revenue, excise duties. Because the sales either weren't happening, or they were happening illicitly before the tax. And some of the wineries are telling me that that has meant as much as 40% of their turnover was from the cellar door at the restaurants on premise. And because tourists were not as common because locals weren't allowed to travel to the farms, they lost a lot of revenue in that time. And then they were initially even they couldn't export wine. And so that created consternation, so the industry got together and lobbied government and then government said, Okay, you can export, but then you still weren't allowed to transport liquor. So, you had this crazy situation where you were allowed to export your products, but you couldn't get your products to the port to export them. So that was just crazy. And eventually, we got that fixed. But that was a terrible time. And you know, winemaking is a process and you cannot just stop it. If you've got something in the tank, it needs to be bottled. It can only stay in the tank for a certain number of days otherwise you have to throw that juice away. And at one point in time, you couldn't get to your farm, you weren't allowed to leave your home to go to work. So, there was that upheaval, so people ended up staying on the farms away from their families just to get the wine through that process. But then you’ve also got some stuff that’s in barrels that needs to be in bottles and then you run out of space for all the bottles, so it needs to get onto a truck and leave. So, it was it was a nightmare. And then on the supply side of those businesses, access to glass bottles to cardboard packaging for the boxes that the wine was going in. labels, corks, closures, all of that. All those supply chains were affected. So even when they could get up and running again, there was this kind of lag in not being able to get certain pieces of the pie. For a year now, we have not been able to purchase marmite again because it is a byproduct of beer production. So, because beer wasn't being produced, there wasn't yeast and therefore there wasn't marmite. Crazy things like that.