THE recent blanket ban on mass gatherings around nightclubs, beer halls and other social gatherings has pushed boozers to the limits, where they are now resorting to drinking from home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Export/ Duty-free alcohol from neighbouring countries, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa have been the in-thing since last December, with most revellers claiming not to afford alcohol sold in liquor shops anymore.
Boozers are now turning to these home services of alcohol delivery as the world is practising social distancing through self quarantining in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Who doesn’t want to buy Gordon’s London Dry Gin, VAT 69 Scottish Whiskey, Best, Viceroy and Klipdrift for only R100 and Jameson for R300, which will be delivered at your doorstep?” asked one dealer who identified himself as Keith Dube.
“With this virus making it difficult for people to revel at their favourite nightspots, drinkers are left with very few options of drinking, and the one we offer (alcohol delivery) seems to be favoured,” he said.
He said they offered free deliveries around town.
The above is a common statement from most dealers’ advertisement statuses on social media.
“The alcohol smuggling industry has grown fast in the last three years, I have people who order boxes of whiskies, gins and spirits like King Roberts, 8 PM Indian whiskey, VAT 69, Gordon’s dry London Gin and all other brands from me. The prices range from R800 to R1200 for a case of 12 bottles then they resell from about R100 going up, depending on the brand. The retailers are scattered all around the city leading to easy accessibility to customers anywhere, with some even offering free door to door deliveries,” said Ngwenya, an illegal beverage dealer, in an interview with B-Metro Entertainment.
There has been an influx of cheap uncertified whiskeys, vodkas, spirits and brandies popularly known as “hot stuff” smuggled into the country mostly from South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique over the past few years.
Most of these bottles come with a sticker written, “For Export only/Overseas export.”
Such indications have raised eyebrows of many buyers who are questioning the authenticity of the alcohol.
The price at which the uncertified and counterfeit alcoholic beverages are sold is very low compared to prices on the formal market.
Liquor being sold on the black market has been active for over five years now, operating at low-key but in 2019, it boomed with a lot of hustlers joining the trade.
In 2016, KWV brandy was sold for US$8 on the streets, whereas in liquor stores it was US$12.
Now it is sold for US$7 on the streets whereas in liquor stores it’s $427.
One observer identified as Wayne questioned the sudden liquor price increases in shops, saying that was the reason people were resorting to cheap whiskeys and gins.
“The quality of the branding of these bottles are totally different from the original liquor bottles and also sometimes we get to buy a bottle of Jameson only to find out that the contents taste exactly like VAT 69,” he said.