Distell beats alcohol bans with half-year sales rise

South Africa-based Distell saw revenue grow 3.8% in the second half of 2020, despite multiple alcohol bans in the company’s home market. Amarula owner Distell’s revenue for the six months to 31 December 2020 reached R15.4 billion South African rand (US$1bn), with volume growing by 0.8%. Distell’s revenue, excluding excise duty, grew 2.5% during the six-month period. The firm said it had lost 41 trading days during the six months due to the second and…

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South Africa lifts alcohol ban for third time

Alcohol bans in South Africa have ‘decimated the industry and threatened its long-term survival’, a trade group has warned, as the country removes restrictions for the third time. On 1 February, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa eased some restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the country’s third ban on alcohol sales. South Africa introduced a total ban on alcohol sales at the start of the pandemic, which lasted from 27 March to 1 June. The…

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The challenges facing South African brandy

Despite its excellence, South African brandy has an image problem, at home and overseas. But, as The Spirits Business discovers, it has some passionate producers keen to fly the flag for the sector. *This feature was originally published in the October 2020 issue of The Spirits Business Few spirits‐producing nations have had it quite as bad as South Africa in this year of the plague. While off‐licenses were deemed ‘essential’ in the UK and remained…

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South Africa curbs alcohol sales to combat Covid-19

Alcohol sales in South Africa have been curtailed and additional restrictions have been put in place to reduce rising Covid-19 infections. President Cyril Ramaphosa said a sharp rise in new infections was a cause for concern as he detailed plans to close beaches, extend the curfew and reduce alcohol sales. He described the festive season as the “greatest threat to the health and well-being of our nation”. On 13 December, South Africa recorded almost 8,000…

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Distell FY sales hit by South Africa alcohol ban

South African drinks group Distell saw its fiscal 2020 revenue fall by 14.6% due to the alcohol ban in its home market. In the year ending 30 June 2020, the Amarula cream liqueur and Bunnahabhain Scotch whisky owner saw its revenue fall 14.6% to 22.37 billion rand (US$1.33bn). Distell CEO Richard Rushton said: “The resilience of our business and culture was severely tested during the pandemic and I’m proud of the way we are responding.…

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