Cash-strapped Zimbabweans opt for opaque beer as lager sales slump

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opaque beer

opaque beer

Some cash-strapped Zimbabweans are opting for opaque beer as the current national economic meltdown takes its toll on the local brewer and eats into clear beer sales.

Beverages manufacturer Delta Corporation recorded an 8 percent decline in revenue in the first half of 2016, with lagers and soft drinks volumes slumping 11 percent and three percent respectively, while sorghum beer Chibuku Super was the only product that recorded an increase in volumes.

Zimbabwe ranks among Africa’s top 20 alcohol taking nations, with opaque beer even used during traditional ceremonies.

“The trading environment continues to be constrained by depressed consumer spending, limited access to cash and the generally weak macro-economic performance,” Delta said this week in a market update for the third quarter ending Sept. 30.

Overall, revenue was 6 percent down for the quarter and 8 percent for the six months.

The company said the contribution of Chibuku Super remained strong, with sorghum beer volume increasing by 4 percent for the quarter and 6 percent for the six months.

Some cash-strapped Zimbabweans have now made a choice between sticking to clear beer which sells for about 1 dollar for 375 ml and Chibuku Super which goes for 1 dollar per liter, with many saying there is now more value for money in the latter.

“When I go to drink, the intention is to get drunk,” said imbiber Peter Chikuni. “The problem is I can’t stretch the dollar to buy me more pints of clear beer, so I have now opted for Chibuku which gives me extra mileage,” he said.

Chikuni said he now takes a pint of clear beer at the end of his drinking session to “wash down” the opaque beer.

Others have simply cut down on their drinking but have stuck with their favourite lagers and hoping to maintain their “statuses” among their peers.

Generally, opaque beer is associated with the lower end of the market, with some people in the middle and upper classes usually taking it to “nurse” hangovers after heavy drinking.

A bar attendant at an outlet in north-west Harare said he was now recording more sales of opaque beer than at the beginning of the year.

“I am pushing more crates of Chibuku than before and I now see customers who used to take clear beer opting for the traditional brew,” he said.-(Xinhua)

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