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Brewers and distillers in the aftermath of the pandemic

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The wine industry was already in financial dire straits when the Covid-19 ban of alcohol sales started, with the number of producers declining from 4 360 to 2 778 and the number of wine cellars declining from 581 to 533 between 2005 to 2019, according to African Wine Industry Information and Systems.

Charl du Plessis, CEO of Orange River Cellars, says that 2018 and 2019 brought a welcome respite, especially following the three-year drought that started around 2016, but in most cases the recuperation was not enough to get producers and cellars solidly back on their feet.

The ban of alcohol sales has exacerbated the situation, with cellars now struggling to work away this season’s wine before the new harvest arrives. “The ban that was supposed to result in more responsible drinking will now probably have the opposite effect by driving down prices and making wine more affordable,” Du Plessis says.

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