Alcohol has been a topic of much discussion in the past month, especially because of the prohibition that was put in place by the government to ban the sale of alcohol for the lockdown period.
Google’s search data reflect these unprecedented moments, capturing high volumes of search data with the word “alcohol” in them, with many people looking up ways to make homemade alcohol.
“Searches on Google SA for ‘alcohol ban South Africa’ spiked 500% in the past week,” the search engine giant said on Wednesday, adding that “how to get alcohol” and “homemade alcohol” were also very popular among South Africans.
The provinces that showed the highest levels of interest in “homemade alcohol” were Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. However, it was noted that Northern Cape showed “very low levels of search interest” for any of the alcohol-related terms.
On March 15, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and declared a national state of disaster because of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
On that day, the term “homemade alcohol” already started to climb up the search rankings. By the next day it was easily one of the most-searched terms relative to other search terms on the day.
Ramaphosa, at the time, had not made mention of alcohol but South Africans clearly pre-empted the prohibition.
On March 18, Ramaphosa advised the nation to reduce its alcohol consumption and said that announcements regarding “taverns, nightclubs and all that” would be made shortly. This sparked another spike in alcohol-related searches, this time for “alcohol ban South Africa” and the more pressing issue of “how to get alcohol”.
Since then those terms have been dominant on Google’s search engine.
After City Press published Police Minister Bheki Cele’s comments that he wished the alcohol ban could last even after lockdown, South Africans again let their fingers do the talking by searching for ways to make homemade alcohol.
Some other related terms that resulted in a rise in search usage included: Homemade beer recipes South Africa; can homemade pineapple beer make you drink; homemade gin; homemade alcoholic pineapple beer; and how to make alcohol at home fast.