South Africa’s winemakers have applauded their government for its bold decision to put a fourth ban on all domestic alcohol sales.
Industry leaders praised the stoppage – announced this weekend – as a ‘genius solution with no negative side effects’ that is ‘bound to work just as well as all the other booze bans did.’
‘You might think that preventing us from doing any business in our biggest market would be bad for our producers,’ said Winnie Bago of the South African Drinks Development Organisation (SADDO).
‘But in fact most of our wine estates are so stupendously wealthy that the need to earn a living barely even registers on their radar.’
Most wineries, she said, ‘could survive with zero sales for five to ten years – and our government is keen that we prove it.’
Great track record
Some have expressed scepticism that the latest shutdown will be any more successful than the previous three in battling Coronavirus.
But it was important, said Ms Bago, that people backed the government’s judgment.
‘They have a proven track record in handling both Covid and business,’ she told Fake Booze, ‘with one of them growing impressively and the other almost completely eradicated.’
The last South African booze ban saw a huge outpouring of sympathy all over the world as bloggers, journalists and importers urged everyone to #drinksouthafrican in support of the beleaguered industry.
With the legendary power of the drinks press all pulling in one direction, overseas sales were estimated to have increased by as much as several hundred bottles.
Observers have described it as ‘South Africa’s best export growth for years.’
‘It had a big impact,’ said Ms Bago. ‘And would have been even more of a game-changer if it was possible to bank likes, shares and pictures of smug tossers holding up bottles of Columella.
‘But sadly it isn’t.’
Trade bodies, however, have warned that the Pretoria government’s ‘sympathy shag’ strategy of trying to increase exports by making the rest of the world feel sorry for their producers is high risk.
‘Screwing your own industries over in the hope that people buy their products out of pity is a gamble, and can go badly wrong,’ said business analyst Payne O’Tax.
‘Just look at the UK. Their government thought that leaving a vast, wealthy trade bloc would boost sales by making everyone feel sorry for them.
‘In fact, they just pissed themselves laughing.’
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