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Wine and beer sales soar during first week of liquor sales

08 June 2020 - 08:45 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Drinkers wanted beer and wine more than other booze during the first week of liquor sales.
Drinkers wanted beer and wine more than other booze during the first week of liquor sales.
Image: iStock / Izusek

Wine and beer sales saw a major boost during the first week of reopening licensed liquor venues, according to the alcohol delivery app Bottles.

Last week, licensed liquor venues reopened to sell alcohol, two months after the lockdown ban was put in place at the end of March.

Liquor stores are allowed to operate only from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm. E-commerce deliveries are subject to the same days and times.

Under level 3 lockdown regulations, alcohol can only be consumed off-site. It can be transported after hours, including Friday, Saturday, Sunday and any public holiday.

“We had an overwhelming response from clients wanting to shop for alcohol on our platform during the first week”, said Vincent Viviers, founder of Bottles.

“We had limited slots and stock available, with order slots booking up in seconds and our app struggling to manage the traffic. We are working closely with our liquor store partners to assess stock availability and operational impact in order to plan and prepare better going forward.”

Viviers said more than 50% of orders made on the app were for beer and wine. He said the app's goal, alongside grocery delivery, was to get back to same-day liquor delivery service as soon as possible. 

“In terms of shopping trends during the first week, we saw customers shopping primarily for beer or wine. It seems South Africans really missed a cold beer.

“With the increase in pineapples, sugar and yeast sales on our platform during lockdown for pineapple beer experiments, I am sure they missed a good beer even more,” he said.

TimesLIVE reported over the weekend that Liquor Traders Association spokesperson Sean Robinson said last Monday’s sales of booze were bigger than those on Black Friday and ahead of New Year’s Eve.

“Where we do see a big emerging trend is with online buying. Some members reported  the surge was so great that they couldn’t handle order levels, with them only able to fulfill delivery orders eight days after they were placed, or having to disconnect their online systems all together.”